AB de Villiers: Ben Stokes lifted his game in IPL

AB de Villiers cool about his form

AB de Villiers cool about his form

"It's a very nice way for us to warm up and get ready for a big one-day tournament", de Villiers said after the Proteas had their first practice in Hove.

South Africa are top of the ODI rankings but De Villiers, 33, said his side will be wary of facing England's "stand-out player" Ben Stokes.

De Villiers, who captains South Africa in ODIs, returned from an elbow injury in January after missing the Test series against New Zealand in August a year ago, the three-Test tour of Australia in November and the three-Test series against Sri Lanka in December-January.

But de Villiers, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, has opted out of the Test series in a bid to reduce his workload after being a mainstay for the Proteas in all three global formats - Test, ODIs and Twenty20s.

"I remember watching the 2015 World Cup thinking they were really low and hit rock bottom".

De Villiers suffered an elbow injury during the tri-nation series in West Indies and subsequently missed the home Test series against New Zealand, the tour of Australia and the home Tests against Sri Lanka - before making a comeback in the 50-over matches against Sri Lanka, early this year.

"We know these tournaments are very competitive - there are eight teams that want to win it and can win it but we do think we ve got a very good squad here".

"A lot of guys lose their way in the IPL, and others find the next level in their game".

Meanwhile, de Villiers is preparing to lead South Africa in a three-match ODI series against England that will serve as a warm-up ahead of Champions Trophy, beginning June 1 in England and Wales.

"I'm feeling fresh, feeling 100%, and looking forward to playing this series and then the tournament".

It should thus not come as a surprise that the likes of de Villiers prefer the IPL riches over national duties.

AB De Villiers said that he is "pretty desperate" to win the ICC Champions Trophy.

"If we play the type of cricket we have played in the past couple of years I believe that no one can stop us".

However, there is no chance he will change his mind and make himself available for the Tests in England. "Ben Stokes definitely lifted his game and I think it would have done him the world of good", de Villiers opined.

"I haven t retired, no". The way they came back from that earned a lot of respect around the world. "I'll look indecisive", he said.

Australia are slated to tour South Africa for four Tests in February and March, 2018, while the Proteas will also host India during their home 2017-18 summer.

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