The whole universe knows the fact that Virat Kohli happens to be the backbone of India’s batting in the ongoing cricket World Cup. However, South Africa coach Russell Domingo has said his team is not making any special plans for this firebrand cricketer ahead of their clash with Team India.

An aware Domingo said, “We all know that Virat Kohli has been an outstanding player for India in the last couple of years. His record has been phenomenal. He is obviously the kingpin in their batting line-up. But we were talking last night in dinner about guys like Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane. They (India) have got a seriously good batting line-up and it’s not our style to target one individual player in a batting line-up. That’s not how we go about our stuff. It’s very much respecting the whole unit. Because we know they have match-winners right through their batting line-up,”

Keeping a low profile about his team’s 3-0 World Cup record against the defending champions, he said, “I am not sure that we have thought about it in that way. We have been very focussed on our preparations. I do not know whether it’s a psychological advantage or not, but we can’t take India lightly. India are current world champions and a wonderful ODI side. Whatever we have done in the past will count for very little when we play on Sunday.”

It is a very interesting equation that the result of this match will not have much bearing on both teams’ quarter-final qualification, but no one really likes to lose at an early stage. He emphasized, “Results are always important. In front of a big crowd, against a quality side like India, if we win, it would serve as motivation. Everytime, you win a cricket match, you need to appreciate it as you don’t win international matches everyday. A lot of positives will be taken if we can beat India at an early stage”.

However, Domingo did not put much weight on the hype that carries popular support for Team India. He said, “We heard that tickets have been close to being sold out. It will be big stage for some of our players, who haven’t experienced such atmosphere before. There is lot you can take out of a good result. Every game that we play for South Africa is a big game. We know there’s always a bit of hype when India are in town. They have got massive support and some really big players in the side.”

Domingo seems fully aware of the fact that Indian team was freshened up by the eight-day break that it got after the tri-series ODI games and that was the reason for its win against Pakistan. He added, “To be honest, we didn’t watch too much of that game (India vs Pakistan) as we had our own game. Our focus was purely on ourselves. I heard one of them (Dhoni) saying that there was an eight-day off and that really freshened them up. That could have been a point. They have some of the best players in the world in their side. Agreed that they have had a very tough tour of Australia but World Cup is their main priority now. We knew that they would come fresh. Come Sunday, we need to be on top of our game.” 

    Established sports writer across various global platforms

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