Less fuss and pressure on South Africa this WC: Amla

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Johannesburg, Feb 7 (PTI) With the chokers tag behind,South Africa will arrive in India tomorrow in search of theirfirst ICC World Cup in 13 years but experienced batsman HashimAmla said there is less pressure and hype around the team thistime which might act in their favour in the mega-event.

"In the past the team was loaded with big names and itwas frequently the number one in world rankings," Amla toldthe Afrikaans daily Rapport.

"This created huge expectations and placed great pressureon the boys, but that is something we are not experiencingnow. This time around there is a lot less fuss being madeabout us and that is how we prefer it," he said.

The right-hander said approaching the tournament withoutthe favourites tag give the Proteas an excellent opportunityto break their World Cup title jinx.

South Africa are currently third in the ICC ODI rankingsand 11 players out of its 15-member squad have never played ina World Cup before -- Amla being one of the them.

With so many new faces in the squad, Amla, who has only42 ODIs under his belt but is considered as a core member ofthe South African outfit, considers himself to be one of thesenior members in the team.

"I definitely feel like one of the older guys in theteam, even if I have nowhere near the experience of someonelike (captain) Graeme (Smith) Jacques (Kallis). Yet every gameis a tremendous learning school for me," he said.

Amla also praised Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir,who is expected to make his debut for South Africa in theWorld Cup to be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladeshfrom February 19 to April 2.

"Imran is a special player, but we must not expectmiracles of him. It is important that he be given theopportunity to find his feet even if he does have lots ofexperience at the first class level," he said.

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