South Africa's AB de Villiers looks on during a recent ODI against England. Photo: Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

BIRMINGHAM – AB de Villiers was in bristling form at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, as his team looked to Pakistan, in their second Group B match at the ICC Champions Trophy.

The first question wouldn’t have helped improve his mood, as a Pakistani scribe suggested that South Africa may have difficulties against a quartet of spinners.

“Two of them are part-time spinners,” De Villiers smote.

The big mantra in the South African sheds at the moment is, funnily enough, “staying in the moment”.

They have all mentioned it in recent weeks, but De Villiers was not about to agree that it was an actual team motto.

That would be to provide ammunition, on top of the “can’t play quality spin, can’t handle pressure” theories that are already out there.

“It’s basically focussing on the ball you’re dealing with. The past is the past, and it has scars. The future is beyond our control,” he added sagely.

“Every ball is an opportunity to influence the game.”

On pressure, De Villiers said there was none on his team to prove anything.

“There is no pressure. The last time we played them in the Champions Trophy, we got the better of them. At the same ground,” he observed of the 67-run win back in 2013.

But, back in the present moment, South Africa are looking to transfer the pressure onto a Pakistan team that looks three eggs short of an omelette.

They were appalling in the field against India, which would have hurt them a lot more than they let on.

It is a team in rebuild mode, but they do have Mickey Arthur in their corner, and he knows a bit about the Proteas.

“They are completely different, but both are good men,” De Villiers opined, when asked to compare styles between his former national coach, and Russell Domingo.

“Jeez, Mickey was a long time ago ... I can’t really remember. We are with a great coach at the moment, and we all get along with him, and love him.”

Would the team like to see Domingo stay beyond September?

“Definitely,” De Villiers said.

Suddenly, the clouds parted, and the captain had a sunny disposition, sharing his joy at reflecting on the skill of the peerless Wasim Akram, and then waxing lyrical about his own team, which should remain unchanged.

“We’ve got a few surprises in our team. In fact, all 15 who are here fit into this puzzle of ours. All 15 have the potential to win games for us,” he said.

“Some more than others.”

It was an interesting seven minutes, revealing in its own way.

He who stays in the moment longest, may well advance furthest in this competition.

Play at Edgbaston starts at 2.30pm SA time.

The Mercury

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