Men's ODI World Cup 2019
World Cup chase will not define me: ABdV
Proteas superstar softens approach a year out from the one-day showpiece in which South Africa have a chequered history
25 April 2018, 02:36 PM AEST
South Africa superstar AB de Villiers has refined his approach to next year's World Cup and says success or failure at the tournament is 'not going to define his career'.
Despite being one of the most consistent one-day teams in the world since their readmission into international cricket, a major 50-over title has proved elusive for the Proteas.
De Villiers has previously highlighted winning the 2019 World Cup in the UK, and ending years of near misses for his country at cricket's showpiece event, as one of the main goals in the latter stages of his career.
It's a view that has been echoed by long-time teammates Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, who will all be older than 34 by the end of the World Cup.
"I want to do anything possible to get there," de Villiers said last January in explaining his decision to take a break from Test cricket.
"We haven't lifted a trophy before. Yes, it's important to play other formats but mentally and physically I want to be in a good space come 2019 World Cup.
"Hopefully by then I would still be fit, and lift the trophy with the boys."
Last September, he said it was his dream to finish his career with a World Cup win, although he added the tournament is not "the driving factor" to continue playing international cricket.
But speaking this week, the 34-year-old said he has lessened his focus on the event.
"I'm taking it one game at a time," he said. "My ultimate dream is not to win a World Cup. I've changed my mindset.
"I feel it will be nice to win it, it'll be a bonus, but if I don't, it's not going to define my career.
"I've committed to all three formats last season and I loved every second of it. I'll take it one game at a time from here on."
South Africa's trophy drought and their narrow semi-final exits in 1999 and 2015 have only fuelled the desire of their leading players to secure a breakthrough title.
"I really want to be a World Cup winner," Steyn said in 2015, less than two month after their heartbreaking semi-final loss to New Zealand.
"I don't know how things will pan out ... but 2019 is a goal. I'd like to be in England when the Proteas have another crack at the World Cup."
Du Plessis has also said the tournament will likely be his last act on the international stage.
"I see myself heading towards the 2019 World Cup playing all formats of the game and then calling time on my career," he said last year.
The 2019 World Cup begins on May 30 next year.