India have got match-winners in their side, says South African coach

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Melbourne, Feb 19: South Africa cricket coach Russell Domingo Thursday asserted his team's victory in all the three previous World Cup meetings against India will count for nothing when the two sides meet Sunday in a Pool B clash here.

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Traditionally, South Africa have had the upper hand against defending champions India at the World Cups, having beaten them thrice in as many meetings. Domingo, though paid very little heed to history and said they need to be wary of India's strong batting line-up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

India have got match-winners in their side, says South African coach

"Whatever has happened in the past in previous World Cups will count for very little on Sunday," he was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.

"We haven't thought too much about whether we have got a psychological advantage over India or not. We are just focusing hard on our preparations this week. We know India are the current World Champions and a wonderful ODI side."

When asked if this was the biggest game for the team in the pool stage, Domingo was of the view that every game in the group was equally important.

"Every game we play for South Africa is a big game and that's the way we want to approach it. We know that there is always a lot of hype when India is in town.

They have got massive support and some really big players in their side. But we are not seeing it as a high profile game," the Proteas coach said.

"Although it is early in the tournament, a lot of positives can be taken out of a good result or a decent performance against a side like India. It is going to be a big stage for some of our players who haven't experienced that type of atmosphere before."

A lot has been spoken about India's winless tour Down Under but against Pakistan, they looked dominant and played like champions.

Domingo and Co. were wary of India's potential in ODIs and felt the need to be on top of their game to topple the title holders.

"We know India have got match-winners in their side. They had a tough tour Down Under but the World Cup is their priority now. They will be fresh and will be ready to go come Sunday. We have to be on top of our game."

Staying put on India's strong line-up, Domingo said, "We obviously know that Virat Kohli has been an outstanding player for India over the last couple of years and his record is phenomenal. He is obviously a kingpin in their batting line-up," Domingo admitted.

"But guys like Suresh Raina, M.S. Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane too have been in great form this summer. We are not targeting any individual player. It's pretty much respecting the whole unit because you know that they have got match-winners right through their batting line-up."

With former India coach Gary Kirsten and Michael Hussey by their side as consultants, Domingo expects the Proteas to gain a lot from the duo's experience and is hopeful to get results in their favour in the coming weeks.

"The most important thing about those two consultants we have brought in is their personalities. They are really good people, they come across really well. Hussey is an experienced player; he knows what you would expect from a coach," he said.

"Gary is an experienced coach; he has been with the side for a long period of time. He knows when to give some information and when not to give some information. Just having his presence around is a big source of inspiration and motivation for the team."

IANS

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