De Villiers confident Proteas can shed 'choker' tag and win Champions Trophy
Johannesburg: South Africa one-day captain AB de Villiers has said that it is possible for them to remove their ` chokers` tag and secure their first international trophy in 15 years at the final edition of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales.
South Africa won the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998, and while they have since reached the semi-finals in three editions of the competition, as well as the last four in three World Cup tournaments, they have failed to secure a title.
Stating that there is always extra pressure on them in view of their performances at any ICC tournament, De Villiers said that although their performances have not been a true reflection of their talent and skill, he is confident that they will be able to change that this year.
According to the skipper, they will always have this tag as an albatross around their necks until they win this tournament, adding that they are hopeful of overcoming the pressure this year.
Stating that every opponent, especially Pakistan, is a threat even after their dismal show in South Africa, De Villiers said that their recent 3-2 win over Pakistan only highlighted the threat Pakistan can pose in the limited-overs format, adding that both India and West Indies can be destructive if they arrive on the day.
De Villiers further said that they can give a strong battle in their opening match against India at the Cardiff Wales Stadium and use the momentum gained from the match for extra advantage throughout the group stages.
Although De Villiers named key players, including West Indies` Chris Gayle and Indian captain MS Dhoni, as people they would need to watch from other teams, he expressed his confidence about challenging for the top honours at the tournament, adding that his squad has a balance of experience and youth, which will be an advantage for them.