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De Villiers sees England T20s as chance of redemption

The Twenty20 series against England presents South Africa with an opportunity to make up for the disappointment of failing to advance form the group stage of the Champions Trophy, captain AB de Villiers has said.

The Proteas have won only one global one-day title, the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998, and the world’s top-ranked team suffered a humiliating eight-wicket loss to India in a straight shootout for a semi-final place on June 11.

“It was a tough few days after the Champions Trophy, to go through that phase of reflecting and to hear some of the criticism,” de Villiers told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s three-match series opener in Southampton.

“It’s never easy but I have always been the kind of guy to see the positive in that and see opportunity to improve. These three matches give me that opportunity as a player and as a captain for the team.”

De Villiers, who came to the Champions Trophy as the world’s top-ranked one-day batsman, scored just 20 runs in three innings in the tournament.

The right-handed batsman, renowned for his versatile, free-scoring ability, is not worried with his form, however.

“I don’t feel like I need to prove anyone wrong or prove something to someone. I just want to go play,” he said.

“I feel like a youngster starting my career again. I am really full of energy and love playing. I just want to score some runs again and captain the team to a few good wins.

“I feel like I am playing very well. There’s nothing wrong with my form. The results are not showing.”

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien)

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