De Villiers Highlights 'Game-Changers' In South Africa Squad
South Africa captain has picked out Chris Gayle and Mahendra Singh as players to watch in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 but says his own team has enough game-changers to see them perform well.
South Africa are chasing their first global tournament success since they won the event in 1998 and take on India, Pakistan and the West Indies in their opening group.
"We are really looking forward to the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales," de Villiers said.
"This is another opportunity for us to win that elusive ICC trophy and it will be a great test for our ODI squad looking ahead to the World Cup in two years.
"I personally think every opponent in our group is a threat. Our recent 3-2 win over Pakistan only highlighted the threat they (Pakistan) can pose in the limited-overs format, and India and West Indies can both be destructive if they arrive on the day.
"We are going to have to start strong in our opening match against India at the Cardiff Wales Stadium and hopefully use the momentum for the extra advantage through the group stages," he added.
Asked to pick out the players he is expecting to challenge the Proteas, he said:
"The nature of ODI cricket is such that any player can take the game away on the day. I think looking specifically at our group, Chris Gayle is one of the major players that stands out, as well as Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is a master-class with the bat.
"I think the one element that has worked in our favour has been our process of focusing on ourselves. We have some big game-changers in Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, and some exciting youngsters who are brimming with potential. JP Duminy will also make a comeback after a long absence and I’m looking forward to having him back.
"We have some quality cricketers in our current ODI squad. We are coming off a series win where we saw some great performances from the likes of Ryan McLaren with the ball and obviously myself with the bat.
"I think if we can collectively take the confidence and momentum we gained during our series win over Pakistan, any player in our squad can win the game for us on the day. We have a balanced makeup of experience and youth in our squad. I think that will be to our advantage in the competition."
South Africa play India on 6th June, Pakistan four days later and end their group campaign against West Indies on 14th June.
The two sides that top each group will progress to the semi-finals and the final will be held at Edgbaston on 23rd June.
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CT 2013 Fixtures
Champions Trophy History
1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies