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De Villiers Set For Big Workload As New Skipper

AP [ Updated 11 Jan 2012, 07:52:46 ]
De Villiers Set For Big Workload As New Skipper

Paarl, South Africa, Jan 11: AB de Villiers will take on a heavy workload as South Africa's new limited-overs captain in the five-game series against Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday.

De Villiers adds the captaincy to his role as wicketkeeper and South Africa's No. 5 batsman for the first time in the series-opener at Paarl's Boland Park.

"It is not going to be easy," De Villiers said at his first press conference as captain. "I'm prepared to make some mistakes but hopefully I'm going to learn from them and do better as I become a better captain."

The 27-year-old right-hander, the world's No. 2-ranked ODI batsman, was due to take over as skipper from Graeme Smith against Australia last year but missed that series loss with injury.

His captaincy debut was delayed but he said on Tuesday "I'm definitely ready now.

"I got to spend a few games on the side of the field, seeing strategies from the sidelines which helped quite a bit."

De Villiers will still have the experience of Smith and veteran Jacques Kallis to lean on, as well as Hashim Amla, who captained against Australia in De Villiers' absence.

Smith has played 175 ODIs for the Proteas and led the team for eight years before giving up the captaincy after the World Cup last April.

"I know he (Smith) will be on my side," De Villiers said. "He told me that he is going to let me captain the way that I want to and he's not going to interfere too much. Saying that, I know he's going to be on my shoulder helping me out when I do go a little wayward."

Having lost the three-match test series 2-1 with a defeat in Cape Town last week, Sri Lanka was boosted by the addition of wicket-taking fast bowler Lasith Malinga for the first ODI in Paarl, in South Africa's wine-growing region near Cape Town.

Batsman Upul Tharanga, allrounder Kosala Kulasekara and bowler Nuwan Kulasekara were also added for the limited-overs games.

No. 4-ranked Sri Lanka, which has reached the last two World Cup finals, is only just behind South Africa in the ODI table.

South Africa has picked bowler Rory Kleinveldt, who is uncapped in ODIs, and big-hitting allrounder Albie Morkel has returned after another newcomer, batsman Dean Elgar, sustained a knee injury in a domestic game after being named in his first Proteas squad.

The teams will meet at relatively small venues in Paarl, East London, Bloemfontein and Kimberley before Sri Lanka's tour ends with a final one-dayer at Wanderers in Johannesburg on Jan. 22.