The Proteas squad for the three T20 internationals between December 21 and 26 will be announced in Cape Town on Thursday and De Villiers expects fresh faces after South Africa’s disappointing ICC World T20 exit before the semi-final stage.
“You’ve got to keep the T20 team fresh and exciting and it’s a great vehicle to get youngsters through into international cricket. We want to try fresh faces and there will definitely be a few new names because there are youngsters who have really performed at domestic level and we need to give them a chance,” De Villiers said at the Wanderers on Wednesday, where he attended the announcement of KFC as the title sponsors for both the New Zealand and Pakistan T20 series.
“These new players will bring different talents and skills, which is exciting.”
The general trend in international cricket has been for countries to use T20 specialists rather than relying on their Test players and De Villiers said it was clear South Africa would have to go further down that route.
“The Test players have played a big part in the T20 side, but that might change in future and you’ll probably see a team with a whole different look,” De Villiers said.
De Villiers, fresh off his thrilling hundred in the series-clinching Perth Test victory over Australia, returned to limited-overs action over the weekend with a century for the Titans, albeit in a losing cause against the Cape Cobras in their Momentum One-Day Cup eliminator.
“That was one of my better hundreds because it was against a really good attack. You can tell the standard of domestic cricket is very good from that match and I like to play domestic cricket when it’s like international cricket,” De Villiers said.
New Zealand have suffered two major blows with the loss of injured spinner Dan Vettori and the unavailability of former captain Ross Taylor, and De Villiers conceded South Africa should beat the Black Caps if they play to their full potential.
“New Zealand are always a dangerous side, they beat us in the World Cup and they’re really tough to beat when they get things right. But we know we’re the favourites and if we play good cricket, then we should win. We have a mental advantage over them because we beat them over there at the beginning of the year.
“They have had a lot of changes to their Test side, which is still trying to find its feet, but they’re definitely more dangerous in T20. They’re a very busy team, very good in the field,” De Villiers said.
But even if fresh faces such as Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Chris Morris, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Andrew Birch are included, South Africa’s T20 strategies are not going to undergo any dramatic change.
“We may have new players, but we’ll use the same strategy and follow the same game-plan,” De Villiers said.
Which means De Villiers will definitely retain the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
“Yes I’m glad I’m a wicketkeeper now, after 50 overs in the field against the Cobras I’m a bit stiff!” he joked.
Probable squad – Faf du Plessis, Richard Levi, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Roelof van der Merwe, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel, Andrew Birch, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.