Proteas captain, AB De Villiers, says there will be “no holding back” in the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand starting in Tauranga on Tuesday. The Proteas enter the series on the back of a triangular series triumph again Australia in August, and are aiming to continue riding the crest of the winning culture they have shaped in the last 10 months. “The feeling I have in my team is that there is no holding back. We gave it our absolute best in Zimbabwe; we will do the same here, against Australia, and against the West Indies back home. We have had a few meetings about giving all the players enough rest both mentally and physically, The management team looks after the players really well, which has allowed them to be able to give their best in each match that they play. We know that’s its valuable to get confidence going into the World Cup and to get everyone into good form. You can’t play around 60 or 70 percent waiting for the World Cup to come, there is no space for that,” De Villiers said to the media at the Bay Oval on Monday afternoon.
De Villiers says the selectors will be picking their strongest possible XI for the series against the seventh-ranked Black Caps, which is also another opportunity for the Proteas to climb up the ICC Reliance ODI rankings. A 3-0 series win will lift the Proteas to number one, a position they last held in 2009. “Winning comes first. We want to win as many games of cricket as possible leading up to the World Cup. We know that there is a lot more value to winning games than experimenting and trying out different combinations. It would be nice but if we are dealt with a situation where we are able to play all 15, that would be great. We have eight ODI’s all together in New Zealand and Australia, and in eight games you should use more than just 11 players, so hopefully without trying too much it will happen that way,” said De Villiers.
Wayne Parnell is the only serious injury concern ahead of the first match and will not be available for selection. He continues to make good progress with his shoulder injury, and is likely to be fit for the second match on Friday.