Desperate to win the ICC Champions Trophy, says AB de Villiers


"I remember watching the 2015 World Cup thinking they were really low and hit rock bottom". "It is the most important thing for me to make sure that I am feeling physically and mentally healthy and strong and ready to go every time I play...."

AB de Villiers has defended his decision to put the Indian Premier League before Test cricket as South Africa began their tour knowing they must take on England in their four-match series without their best batsman.

"I started the IPL very well and felt in good touch throughout the tournament, but we never got going as a team as a whole", he said.

South Africa's captain AB de Villiers celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first one day worldwide (ODI) cricket match between India and South Africa at Green Park Stadium in Kanpur.

But the 33-year-old says while focusing purely on the shorter forms of the game was the right decision "for this year", he is adamant he has not retired from Test cricket.

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"They are a really talented group of players - the way they came back from that earned a lot of respect around the world", added De Villiers.

"I'm feeling fresh, feeling 100%, and looking forward to playing this series and then the tournament".

South Africa are now ranked number one in ODIs but will come up against an England team that have lost only one series at home, a 3-2 defeat to world champions Australia, since their 2015 World Cup debacle, when they were knocked out in the group stage.

"I haven't won one of these trophies in my career, so I'm pretty desperate to win one, and we'll do anything we can to get out on top".

The non-stop nature of global cricket means something has to give and De Villiers is not prepared to relinquish his career as one of the best paid players in the IPL, earning £1.5 million this year with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Spending time with the family has done me the world of good and it is about finding the balance of working hard to win with time away from the game'.

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"He (Stokes) is a fantastic cricketer with bat and ball. I'll look indecisive", said De Villiers, ahead of the Proteas' 50-over warm-up against Sussex on Friday afternoon.

"A lot of guys lose their way in the IPL, and others find the next level in their game".

"I missed a couple of matches at the IPL and I am not planning to miss any games for South Africa".

South Africa last won an ICC tournament in 1998 and de Villiers is part of a squad that hasn't won any silverware in major tournaments.

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