Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Van Zyl believes IPL experience will help overseas players at World Cup

South Africa coach Corrie Van Zyl believes the advent of the Indian Premier League means that India’s home advantage at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 may not be as strong as it once wa
Although Sri Lanka is the only host nation ever to win the tournament, when it won the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996, many believe that India’s huge home support will give it an advantage in 2011 over rival nations.

However, van Zyl thinks that the experience the world’s top players have gained in terms of getting use to the playing conditions and dealing with the intensity of India crowds, means this advantage has been negated.

"India has traditionally been a difficult place to tour but more recently teams have learnt to win in Indian and sub-continent conditions.

"India in particular, where most of our preliminary matches will be played, is a wonderful place to play cricket as the people love the game and the support is phenomenal. Teams have learnt to embrace the atmosphere rather than be wary of it and we are looking forward to playing in these packed stadiums,"he said.

"This is also the first major ICC event in the subcontinent since the IPL was launched. Players from around the world have now played a lot of limited overs cricket in India. This may reduce India’s home ground advantage. Delhi, for example, is like a second home to AB de Villiers.”

South Africa will prepare for the tournament with ODI series against Zimbabwe, Pakistan and India and van Zyl wants his side to carry the winning form from these matches into the event.

"The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is high on every cricket playing nation's agenda and the next six months will be dedicated greatly in preparing for this showcase event.

"We will prepare and use the upcoming series that we have to play on the ICC calendar as preparation but at the same time not lose the focus on taking each series as a campaign on its own,"he said.

South Africa will begin its campaign against the West Indies, in one of the most high profile matches in the opening week of the tournament, and speaking six months ahead of its first match on 24 February van Zyl said it was vital that his team get off to a winning start.

"The first game in any competition of this nature is very important to gain momentum and relieve some of the pressure to qualify for the quarter finals.

"Playing the West Indies in Delhi means that we have to do our home work regarding the ground and its history and how this will affect our play against the West Indies. We obviously need to see how Delhi suits them and how we need to use our strengths to have the advantage in these conditions,"he said.

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