South African cricketer AB De Viliers during the net session at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Monday night. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: He is the ICC ODI Player of the Year and is currently the World's No 1 batsman in the ICC ODI rankings. However, that has not stopped A.B. de Villiers from taking on extra responsibility in South Africa's pursuit of the World Cup.

The 26-year-old de Villiers, also one of the world's best fielders in the game today, will don the wicketkeeper's gloves, a job he did against Zimbabwe recently and also scored two centuries.

The move will give captain Graeme Smith the option of playing an extra batsman or a bowler.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Monday night, De Villiers said he was keen to give his best.

The following are excerpts from the interview:


Gulf News: Since when have you been keeping wickets?

A.B. De Villiers: The first time I started keeping wickets was when I was an eight-year-old. I have played in that position before and I am pretty sure I can do it again. And I am prepared.

Obviously, I have not done it for a while but I am confident I will do well for the team.


Do you feel this new role as wicket-keeper will put some pressure on you?

Obviously, it is a different position. When you are in the field, whether you are standing at fine leg, extra cover or wicket keeper, you have a responsibility to take catches. I have a responsibility to get the balls going down the stumps as wicket-keeper and take the chances that come my way.

So, it is the same discipline and hopefully I will get better every time I go out there.


You are known for your outstanding fielding, will you miss that?

Maybe I can pull off better stuff behind the stumps! I will work hard on my game there and I think I will get better.


How much has playing in the Indian Premier League (for the Delhi Daredevils) helped?

The more time you spend in the sub-continent, the better it prepares you for conditions like this.

You play with guys that have been brought up in these conditions so you get used to the conditions as well. We have performed well on the sub-continent before and we are prepared to play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the sub-continent where the World Cup is to be held.


Being a key member of this South African side, do you think the team can finally shake off the tag of ‘chokers'?

Hopefully, we will not choke again. We are just going to go up there. We know we have the potential to win the tournament.

Our team will give its best shot, but I think we are a long way from there. We have to take it ball by ball, game by game.

Right now our goal is to play Pakistan here in Abu Dhabi and then in Dubai. That is our focus now.

Obviously the World Cup will come later and hopefully we will do well there as well.