JOHANNESBURG – Proteas team management have banned player’s wives and girlfriends from the national team for the duration of the Champions Trophy in the UK next month in a bid to have the squad fully focused on the event.
The South Africans are in Group B with Sri Lanka‚ whom they meet in their opening match of the campaign at Kennington Oval on June 3 in London‚ and other Asian powerhouses Pakistan and India in their bid to win the tournament.
“I think it is a good move not to have family members during the tournament‚ it is a short tournament of only five games in total if you go to the final.
“It’s going to be all focus on preparations and the team‚” said captain AB de Villiers.
De Villiers said the wives and partners‚ otherwise known as the wags‚ of the players will be with them on tour for the first two weeks during the three-match series against England before the Champions Trophy and they will return home to allow them to focus on the tournament.
Over the past few months‚ De Villiers has been troubled by a shoulder injury but said he was feeling good and ready to help South Africa to win a second Champions Trophy.
“I have worked hard on the recovery of my back injury which has been an issue for the last few years. At the age of 33 you are going to have a few niggles here and there but it is part and parcel of the game. I missed a couple of matches at the IPL and I am not planning to miss any games for South Africa.”
Looking at the group‚ De Villiers said there were not going to be easy games because of the quality of Sri Lanka‚ India and Pakistan‚ who all know how to play in major tournaments.
“India won the last Champions Trophy in the UK‚ Pakistan have upset a few number of teams and Sri Lanka have played some good cricket as well. There are not going be easy games (but) I do rate our chances in the group. If we play the type of cricket we have played in the last couple of years‚ I believe that no one can stop us in the tournament.”