Johannesburg, Feb 8 (PTI) Mindful of the chokers tag thathas sat on them since their 1992 World Cup appearance, SouthAfrica head off to the sub-continent for the quadrennial megaevent starting later this month, with captain Graeme Smithconfident of his side possessing a stronger mental frame thanever before to aim for its maiden title.
South Africa faltered in crucial high-pressure matches inthe five World Cups they had taken part so far, including athome in 2003, with the Proteas losing three semifinals and aquarterfinal when they were tipped favourites each time.Smith said the players have done enough in their build-upto come out successful in the unyielding pressure situation inthe sub-continent with their recent good form and bondingsessions.
"That''s the nature of knockout tournaments, that''s whatmakes it exciting and that''s what makes it tough. As aninternational sportsman, pressure is a part of your life. Youlearn to deal with pressure," Smith said today before leavingfor India.
"We''ve had some good chats and really good bondingsessions. We''re as best prepared as we can be for the WorldCup. This team is in a good space and we''re looking forward togetting going, getting some good results and on a roll.
There''s some exciting things to come from this team," saidSmith who will relinquish one-day captaincy after theFebruary 19-April 2 mega event.
He said he was looking forward to "leaving it all outthere" at his final tournament as ODI captain.
Smith said his team is better prepared than 2007 and thatthey have more options now and more relaxed.
"We were a little bit too rigid (in 2007) in terms ofplayers and squad. Moreover, we stuck to a similar style ofplay in 2007. We have a lot more options and we can be moreunpredictable now," he said.
"Yes, you have to want to win the World Cup and that hasto be your mindset, but we are much more relaxed in terms ofthe way we want to do things," he said.
"We want to go step by step and we are not thinking aboutthe quarters or semis now. We want to do well in the warm-upmatches and that will also help us to do well in thetournament. We want to keep things simple," said the30-year-old right-handed opening batsman who will be appearingin his third World Cup.He said that the team''s preparation is different thistime due to the presence of young players. Eleven players inthe 15-member squad have never played in the World Cup andmany of those make up the core of the Proteas team. MORE PTIPDS AH