Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers has announced that he expects the hostilities and sledging between the Proteas and Australia to resume during their tri-series match, which gets underway today in Harare.
Both teams were involved in a highly intense and competitive Test series in March, which Australia ended up winning 2-1. But, it was the incidents during the series that ignited the tension between the two nations.
The two most memorable incidents during the three-Test series were Australia captain Michael Clarke and South Africa pace maestro Dale Steyn literally going head to head after a decision did not go Australia’s way. The second incident involved the Australian players howling at batsman Faf du Plessis after he called them a “pack of dogs”.
But, after the series, Clarke apologised for his side’s behaviour and admitted that they had been “out of line”, while de Villiers stated that the Proteas had simply “moved on”.
“I didn’t know about that but apology accepted,” de Villiers said. “It was a hard-fought series in SA, but there are definitely no hard feelings. We didn’t expect anything less.
“When I get sledged at the wicket, I don’t mind it at all. I really enjoy the challenge. I’m expecting to see more of that in this series. There was lots of personal stuff. Certain guys take it in a different way. I laughed at a couple of chirps I heard. It’s part of the game and I see it in that way. But they can’t expect us to be mates with them off the field if they get very personal.”
However, de Villiers noted that South Africa are determined to bounce back from their loss in March and will do “whatever it takes” to win.
“In the same breath, we are also here to win this series so…whatever it takes,” he said.
During their three days off, South Africa travelled to the Victoria Falls River Lodge, where they were surrounded by hippos and crocodiles since they were right on the banks of the Zambezi River.
While there, Steyn ended up hurting his left knee when a fish hook got stuck in his skin while he was fishing for tiger fish. However, that didn’t stop him from jumping off the Zambezi River Bridge.
“That is probably the reason he has been the No.1 bowler in the world for so long,” de Villiers said. “He has got that adventurous streak about him and he loves challenges. His kind of challenge is jumping of a bridge. That’s what he does at home in Cape Town too. He runs in the mountains there and there is always some sort of danger. And also some of the other guys, we also like adventure. We had hippos and crocodiles around us. It’s part of going to a game lodge and part of switching the mind off. We are all here very fresh.”
De Villiers admitted that he doesn’t like talking about cricket on South Africa’s days off, but he conceded that the subject just keeps coming up.
“I don’t want any cricket conversation on those trips but it comes up all the time,” he said. “The guys love the game and they love to talk about the game. Around the camp fire it came up a few times – how we are going to try and win this series. The lodge owner wanted to know a few things about why we haven’t won a World Cup.”
De Villiers finished off by delivering a warning to Australia ahead of their match.
“I am hitting the ball better than ever so I expect myself to make an impact in this series,” he said. “If I don’t I will be very disappointed.”