AB de Villiers says he will try to lead from the front for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League. Photo: Harish Tyagi/EPA

CAPE TOWN – He is surely the box-office attraction for the opening match of the Mzansi Super League, and now AB de Villiers hopes to lead from the front for the Tshwane Spartans.

The former Proteas skipper was named as the captain of the Spartans on Tuesday ahead of Friday night’s tournament opener against the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands (7pm start).

De Villiers says his experience over the years has moulded him to become a “decent man manager” on the field.

“I try to lead from the front and rely on the experience I’ve picked up over the years. 

“I believe I’m a decent man manager when it comes to understanding players’ strengths and weaknesses. I’m looking forward to it. It’s an exciting challenge and I’m ready for it,” the right-handed batsman said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It’s a huge honour to captain this team in the first Mzansi Super League. I’m really excited to work with this group of players – there’s a lot of talent, with a great balance between youth and experience.”

The Spartans have one of the strongest squads in the competition, and are the early favourites along with the Durban Heat.

Spartans coach Mark Boucher believes De Villiers’ ability to handle pressure in T20 cricket has been showcased in the IPL, which makes him an ideal skipper.

“The players that make up our squad are leaders in their own right, but you need someone to tie that all together and AB knows these conditions better than anyone. He’s comfortable in his own space and in tournaments like these,” Boucher said.

“In the IPL, he’s played in big pressure matches, so he’s the perfect man for the job. He leads from the front and plays with great intensity.

“For T20 cricket that’s what the game is all about. AB and Virat Kohli are in the same sort of mould, and how Virat rallies his team is how I think AB will rally the Spartans.

“I know the other guys will want to play for him and at his intensity, and that will get the best out of their own game.”

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