With the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground set to see a large Indian crowd turning up to support their team on Sunday, current South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald today conceded that for the defending champions the game at MCG would be akin to playing at home.
“It’s a home game for India. There’s going up to (almost) 100,000 people here and there is going to be a lot of Indian support, so keeping the crowd quiet is going to be a big thing,” Donald said two days ahead of the clash that may decide who tops Group B.
Donald said there was something unique about the venue and his players would relish the occasion.
“You just have to walk out there, (even when) these stands are empty it’s an intimidating place. It’s a massive game: South Africa v India, MCG … this is why we play for our country,” the 48-year-old South African was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press.
South Africa are considered as one of the favourites to win the World Cup this time, but Donald said his side have not thought beyond Sunday’s match.
“If it (finals) bring us back here that’s great. It means we’ve played cricket out of our socks. We’re concentrating on Sunday. That really is all that matters,” said Donald who took 330 wickets from 72 Tests and 272 from 164 ODIs.
Donald could not win a World Cup in four appearances as a player but he said he has no regrets.
“To not be able to walk away with a medal is a bit of a sour one, but I’ve got no regrets,” said Donald, part of the Proteas’ famous mix-up between the wickets that ended their 1999 World Cup campaign in the semi-final against Australia.
“Hopefully this time around there’s something waiting, but we’re very patient about that process. It’s just an awesome time to be around this team. I’m very privileged … I love World Cups. They’re such amazing events,” said Donald, adding that fast bowler Dale Steyn will play against India on Sunday after a bout of sinusitis.