sport

De Villiers wary of Pakistan

South Africa's AB de Villiers expects a different Pakistan to the one that folded meekly in the Test series when the teams meet in T20 action.

The Proteas completed a clean sweep of the three-Test series with an innings victory on Sunday but Pakistan have shown much better form in the shortest form of the game and beat South Africa the only other time the teams have met at the ICC World Twenty20 last year.

De Villiers, speaking ahead of Friday's first game in Durban, said on www.cricket.co.za: "I have seen the names in their T20 squad and there are some serious cricketers out there. We are playing in our home conditions so we have some confidence from that but they are a dangerous side.

"They don't only have world-class players but they have experience as well. They have won World Cups before. They are a really good team and I think they will be a good challenge for us."

All eyes will be on South African seamer Kyle Abbott after his stunning debut in the final Test, where he took nine wickets and was named man of the match.

The Proteas squad is short on star names, with Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla all absent, while Henry Davids, Aaron Phangiso, Chris Morris and Quinton de Kock are given another chance after making their Twenty20 debuts against New Zealand in December.

De Villiers will keep wicket, and he said: "It is a nice way of giving youngsters a chance to perform and to showcase their talent.

"I definitely see why we are doing that, there are so many youngsters that have come through that have won games for their domestic teams on a regular basis.

"The squad we have now will not change too much over the next 12 months. If we play a lot of cricket together the results will start to show."

De Villiers was named man of the series over the three Tests but has struggled to replicate that form in Twenty20s and stood down as captain for that reason.

"I still haven't found my rhythm in T20 cricket for South Africa," he said. "I feel we haven't played a lot, so it's difficult to find your way when we play one or two matches in a series then three or four months down the line you play another one."

Pakistan have named a strong squad, with Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik among the line-up and brothers Kamran and Umar Akmal hoping to shine after missing out on the Test party.

Opener Mohammad Hafeez takes over as captain from Misbah-ul-Haq, who will resume his role for the five-match one-day series, which start in Bloemfontein on March 10.

Their performances in the Tests were heavily criticised back home and former captain Moin Khan believes Sri Lanka-born coach Dav Whatmore should be replaced by a Pakistani.

He said on ndtv.com: "I think the Pakistan Cricket Board must seriously think about having a Pakistani as the national team coach. Foreign coaches don't work within our cricket culture because they are just not able to communicate properly with our players."

Of the Test series, he added: "What hurt is the way we lost inside four days in all three matches.

"I see this as a failure of the team management. We saw players repeating mistakes again and again in the series. This happened because of poor strategy and planning."