AB de Villiers: Nothing wrong with Mohali wicket

Stating that pitches in all the remaining three Test matches will be made to favour the hosts, De Villiers said the Proteas have the firepower to counter any conditions.

AB de Villiers will be playing his 100th Test at Bengaluru.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

South African batting mainstay AB de Villiers feels way too much has been made out of their loss in the first cricket Test against India on a spinning wicket and says there is nothing wrong in the home team changing the conditions to suit its strength.

Just like India Test captain Virat Kohli, De Villiers too said that there were no demons in the Mohali pitch.

“Absolutely. Way too much has been made of it (loss in the first Test). It has been blown out of proportion. If you look at the batting scorecard of both the teams, no one has scored a hundred. Both teams struggled on the pitch. Both teams struggled against spin and looked foolish at times,” he told reporters ahead of the second Test starting on Saturday.

On Mohali wicket

“We came out on the losing side because we did not play a couple of sessions to our full potential and that cost us the game. We could have batted better in the first innings; but unfortunately we didn’t. And in India’s second innings, we let it slip by 50 to 100 runs. We could have done better with the ball in hand. That’s where we lost the Test match. It’s got nothing to do with the wicket. Both teams struggled against spin — you can read the scorecard and see that,” De Villiers said.

‘Don’t mind pitches favouring the hosts’

Stating that pitches in all the remaining three Test matches will be made to favour the hosts, De Villiers said the Proteas have the firepower to counter any conditions.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with home teams changing the conditions to favour them and to favour their strengths. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I don’t mind that. I feel we’ve got all the firepower to counter that. We showed signs of that in the first Test match but not for long enough. Hopefully in this Test match we’ll find that rhythm and have more endurance than the opposition,” he said.

‘Ready for any kind of wicket’

“All four of the Test matches will be played in similar conditions, no matter where we play. If we play India at the Wanderers in South Africa and it’s seen as an Indian ground (home match), it will have turn on it. We’re expecting turning wickets, wherever we go. We’ll be prepared for that. We’ve worked really hard on our game and covered all bases.

“I don’t think we played poorly in that first Test match. For a couple of hours we didn’t play good cricket. It had nothing to do with our skills and our potential to take India on in their own conditions,” De Villiers said.

“I’m prepared for any kind of Bangalore wicket. We know it’s going to turn. It’s not going to be a Wanderers wicket. South African teams are known for bouncing back and their resilience. I’m expecting the boys to be very upbeat for the second Test match,” he added.

‘No pressure on the 100th Test’

De Villiers said he is not under any pressure though he will be playing in a landmark Test.

“I don’t feel any pressure because it’s my 100th Test; I feel pressure because we’re 1-0 down. It’s a huge honour to play my 100th Test and never in my life I thought I’ll be in this kind of position. I feel humbled and privileged to get the opportunity to walk out onto the field in my 100th Test,” said De Villiers who has scored 7685 Test runs in 99 matches at an average of 51.92.

“I’ve never put too much pressure on myself. I just want to have an impact on the game. That’s the kind of pressure I’m feeling. I want to play my role and get into a position where we can win this Test and get back into the series.”

On playing his 100th Test at Bengaluru

Talking further about his 100th Test, the Protea said he would have been happy to play the match at any venue across the world.

“I’ve never been very fundamental about these kind of things. I don’t care where I play my 100th Test. I would have been okay if it’s in Bangladesh as well. I didn’t mind where I played my 50th; I don’t mind where I play any of my Test matches,” de Villiers said.

“Representing my country is a great honour. But I have to add that playing in Bangalore is really special for me. I love coming here. I enjoy touring India in general. I love coming here for the IPL,” he said.

On comparisons with Viv Richards

Asked about comparisons with West Indies batting legend Viv Richards, he said he never puts himself “up on the pedestal”.

“I have watched him (Richards) play a little bit, some of the highlights, and he was an incredible player. I don’t like to be compared to other players. I never put myself up on the pedestal. I just enjoy the game of cricket. I know I’ve been playing well this year and I’d love to extend that run of form. But more importantly, I’d like to have an impact on us winning cricket games.

“I’d like us to win this Test. That’s the only focus I have at the moment. I know it’s my 100th Test match. My current form … people are comparing me to other players, but all I really want is for us to win games of cricket.”