#CWC15: Allan Donald, Proteas calmly confident ahead of Zim opener

Allan Donald is excited rather than nervous as South Africa prepare to play Zimbabwe in their opening fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup.

South Africa go into the tournament as one of the hot favourites to win the title, but bowling coach Donald believes the Proteas are ready.

“There’s a very calm confidence around this team that I haven’t felt before,” he said. “Momentum is such a massive thing in this World Cup and how we get through this first game and get it done and dusted will then take us to Melbourne with confidence.

“You can’t look too far ahead,” he added. “It’s taking Zimbabwe first on Sunday and then India, but the next question will probably be of how we deal with the chokers tag and we embraced that four years ago.

“It’s something we’ve taken on board and faced it right from the word go and it will never go away until we win an ICC event it’s as simple as that. We’ve got to come out here and prove it.”

When asked who will win the title, 48-year-old Donald said: “It’s a very open World Cup,” he predicted. “You look around at the teams and the talent out here and you cannot take any team lightly. If you think your are coming into the World Cup confident, you’ve got to find the right time to peak, and it’s just finding that right balance.

With South Africa favourites to progress to the latter stages of the tournament, many people will expect them to brush Zimbabwe aside with ease. The vastly experienced Donald however, with 330 Test wickets and 272 ODI scalps behind him, knows the Proteas cannot be complacent.

“All these so-called minnow teams, and Zimbabwe are certainly no minnow - they are a full member of the ICC,” he said. “They have always found a way to scrap and in 1999 they had a very fine side.

“There’s no way that anyone in this World Cup will disrespect Zimbabwe, because some of these teams are going to upset someone throughout this World Cup, so we are taking them very seriously and know what they are capable of.

“They’ve got a couple of players that we feel will be pivotal for them. I think Hamilton Masakadza, who missed out on the previous World Cup in 2011, has come in and really announced himself again with a great hundred against Sri Lanka,” he continued. “So we’ve prepared really well and can’t wait to get started in Sunday.

“We know it’s right on the doorstep now and we are very eager to get on with it.

“We’re going to face a lot of spin and they base their game around that and they’ve got some dangerous players in Williams and Masakadza.

“We expect Zimbabwe to be tough, gritty, they find a way and they are the sort of team that never really goes away, so that’s dangerous.

Donald’s job is to ensure the much lauded South African bowling attack is on it’s A game from the start of the tournament. The former Proteas spearhead is happy with the bowler’s progress.

“I think we’ve been very consistent over the last couple of years with our bowling attack and bowling teams out. Every now and again there’s been a clip or two when we haven’t done that.

“In a World Cup every game is difficult, but we’ve always found a way of bowling teams out and I don’t think it will change very much from that point-of-view .

“Everyone’s find and everyone’s raring to go,” he continued. “In the previous game we rested Dale [Steyn], making sure that he’s 110% ready to go - more from a freshness point-of-view.

“The wickets we are going to get in Australia and New Zealand are going to be pure wickets, so wickets upfront in the powerplay is going to be a massive factor for everyone.

“For us that ball has got to swing, we’ve got to find a way of getting it reversing - that’s crucial for us. Against the West Indies recently we realised that we’ve got to stay attacking throughout the innings with the ball and we’ve got to find a way of being unpredictable at the back end.”

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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