KOLKATA: India has been good to A.B. de Villiers. His breakthrough innings in Test cricket — an unbeaten 217 at Ahmedabad in 2008 — happened in this country.
More recently, at Nagpur, he made a sparkling half-century which helped South Africa press towards a declaration. On Friday de Villiers spoke to the media ahead of the second Test (during which he will celebrate his 26th birthday).
On why South Africa has always done well in India: Credit has to go to guys like [Jacques] Kallis, [Mark] Boucher, Graeme [Smith], who have been here a few times before. They have passed on their knowledge to the younger guys like me by giving away their game-plans and things that have worked for them in the past.
We are a fighting team, we never go down easy. We have that never-say-die attitude, which is always very important in India.
On South Africa’s mindset after the Nagpur win: Cricket is all about momentum and confidence, and we have a lot of confidence from the Johannesburg Test and the last Test at Nagpur.
We are in a good space and the guys are keen to win a Test series in India. We’re enjoying the hotel we are staying at, we had a wonderful training session, and our focus is to win a Test.
On the battle for the number-one ranking: Obviously it’ll be nice to be number one in the world. But at the moment we are building and we are trying to dominate world cricket instead of trying to work ourselves to number one in the world.
On the Eden Gardens wicket: I’m pretty sure they’ll take off a bit of the grass in the next 48 hours. But it’s up to the groundsman to decide. We have no control over that.
We just have to focus on our skills and our basics. How the pitch will play we don’t know, how the Indians will play we are not sure. We will focus on our game-plans to go up 2-0.