Nagpur, March 10 (IANS) South Africa’s reliable opener Hashim Amla insists the Proteas have put their morale-shattering defeat by England behind and are ready to turn the heat on India in their World Cup Group B match here Saturday.
Amla said the pressure will be on India as they will have to ride over the expectations of fans and perform in front of a roaring home crowd at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha.
“The pressure will be more on India as there will be expectations. We have played in front of big crowds before. It won’t be a major problem, taking the noise factor into consideration. It is a big occasion. I think our guys will enjoy playing in front of big crowds,” Amla said after a training session at the VCA Stadium.
“We played them in South Africa and won the ODI series 3-2, but the conditions were different and the series was close. We know what to expect. On this wicket, it will be a challenge for our batsmen and bowlers.”
Amla said the team has learnt its lessons from the six-run loss to England in Chennai Sunday.
“I think batting second was not easy on that sort of wicket. We knew it would turn. We didn’t expect it to turn that much. We learnt our lessons. I think myself and the top order need to bat as long as possible.”
“The break has been good for us. We had good training sessions here. The guys are pretty relaxed and confident.”
Amla, thea top ranked ODI batsman, has fond memories of the VCA Stadium where he stroked a double century in 2010 en route to South Africa’s crushing victory by an innings and six runs over the home team.
“It was a flat wicket. I had a good time here, but Test cricket is different. One-day cricket needs different kind of skills. If I score same amount of runs I will be very happy. I think it is a good cricketing wicket and hopefully I can get runs.”
Amla has been a valuable player for the team in the last couple of years in both formats of the game. He can slip into the role of an aggressor and also a grafter with ease.
“Fortunately for me before playing One-day cricket, I played Test matches. I think from the experience point of view at international cricket, I saw and learnt a lot from Herschelle (Gibbs).
“I have to keep things simple. Coming into the World Cup, I have tried to keep same sort of style of batting, trying to score runs quickly. There are couple of matches left. If I can contribute more then I think we can put a good total on the board,” said Amla, who has 169 runs from three matches in the ongoing World Cup including a century against the Netherlands.
Asked about Jacques Kallis’s batting form, Amla said: “I don’t think there is any concern. Jacques is a world class player. He has been the rock in our team. May be he is saving himself for the big game.”