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South Africa and Australia switch to attention to shortest format

Last Updated: 26/03/09 3:34pm

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De Villiers: treats Twenty20 as a serious business

De Villiers: treats Twenty20 as a serious business

Sky Bet

South Africa and Australia head into the first of two Twenty20 internationals at the Wanderers on Friday looking to build momentum in the shortest format ahead of June's Twenty20 World Cup in England.

South Africa v Australia

1st T20 - Jo'burg
Live on Sky Sports 2 from 4pm (GMT)

"It's not like Test cricket where you play for five days and it's more about your skills. In Pro20, if one player comes off it can kill you."
AB de Villiers Quotes of the week

The two sides have gone toe-to-toe during an epic four-week spell in which the tourists claimed a 2-1 Test series win, but with the home side not scheduled to play the five-day game again until December, batsman AB de Villiers knows the focus should now be on improving their form in the 20-over format.

Since the inception of Twenty20 cricket, the Proteas have played 16 matches, winning nine, and De Villiers feels there is still room for improvement.

"I don't think our record is that bad and a lot of our inconsistency is down to the nature of the game, you can lose at any time," he said.

"It's not like Test cricket where you play for five days and it's more about your skills.

"In Pro20, if one player comes off it can kill you."

South Africa failed to make the play-offs at the inaugural World Twenty20 when it was held on home soil in 2007 and De Villiers is now hoping the two matches against Australia will help their preparations even further as they build towards the second global tournament.

He continued: "Pro20 is not just a hit-around any more, there's a World Cup around the corner and we are all taking it more seriously.

"There's a lot of pride and passion involved and the mood is pretty similar in the changing room if you lose a Test or a Twenty20 game.

"We're still working towards a brand of play in Pro20 cricket, we're not yet there but we're going to press on with it."

Opportunity

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur agreed, adding that the games at the Wanderers and at Supersport Park in Pretoria on Sunday will provide a good opportunity for the fringe players to make an impression.

Arthur said: "This is a very important weekend for players to show their worth on the international stage.

"All 15 members of the squad will play at least one match and we also want to assess how players contribute in the dressing room environment and at practice."

Johan Botha will again lead the team in the absence of injured captain Graeme Smith as he did Down Under when South Africa lost both T20 internationals.

Like De Villiers, Australia captain Ricky Ponting knows the two matches will be a good opportunity to take a look at some of their players ahead of a busy few months.

"It's a reasonably large squad that we've got," said the Tasmanian.

"Whether that means giving everyone a game in the next two games or not, that's probably unrealistic, I couldn't imagine that many changes from game to game.

"It's about time we started looking ahead to the Twenty20 World Cup as well and started to try to pencil in what we think is going to be our best time for that."

Ponting's squad includes 16 players, 10 of whom will remain with the squad for the five-match one-day series starting next Friday.

South Africa squad: Johan Botha (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Johann Louw, Mark Boucher, Justin Ontong, Albie Morkel, Robbie Peterson, Wayne Parnell, Yusuf Abdulla, Dale Steyn

Australia squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Laughlin, Marcus North, Cameron White, David Warner, Shane Harwood

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