• Thursday, July 25, 2024


T20 WC final: Former India star advises Rohit Sharma’s men to choke South Africa

While South Africa have not won an ICC trophy after 1998, India’s last ICC crown came in 2013.

India captain Rohit Sharma during a net session with team members during the T20 World Cup 2024. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA’S former World Cup-winning cricketer Kirti Azad has said that it will be difficult to predict how South Africa play in the final of the T20 World Cup against India in Barbados on Saturday (29) since it is the first time they have reached the finals and cautioned India against becoming complacent and end up choking and instead should try to make the opponents choke.

Both India and South Africa have earned the nickname of ‘chokers’ due to their failure to win major crowns. While South Africa have not won any world title ever and their only International Cricket Council (ICC) crown came in 1998 when they won the ICC KnockOut Trophy, India have faltered in either semi-final or final of major ICC tournaments such as the World Cup or Champions Trophy since 2013. That year, they won their last ICC trophy in the form of Champions Trophy.

Speaking with Indo-Asian News Service in an exclusive interview, Azad, who is currently a parliamentarian, said, “It is very difficult to talk about South Africa as it is their first time in the final of any ICC tournament. They were even called ‘chokers’ as they used to always choke in the semi-finals which is why it will be difficult to predict how they will perform in the final. But yes they will give it their best to win and India have to be careful to not get too complacent and we don’t end up choking the game. The hope will be that we put up a good score.

Read: PREVIEW: India to play South Africa in T20 World Cup final

“As we saw the pitches last time out in the semifinals, the ball was not bouncing too much and staying low. We will have to be careful and give them a good target. South Africa ko choke karaana hoga (We will have to get South Africa to choke).”

Both India and South Africa have reached the final without losing a game. While the Men in Blue thrashed defending champions England by 68 runs in the semi-final, South Africa hammered Afghanistan, this edition’s sensation, by nine wickets to end their semi-final curse.

Read: Three ICC finals in 12 months: India head coach hopes team will be third time lucky

The 65-year-old Azad, who was a member of India’s World Cup-winning team of 1983, said he is confident that the current side will lift the trophy.

“The performance by all players has been top-notch, especially the bowlers in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have been bowling well. India’s bowling attack is second to none. The biggest plus point for our side is the way Rohit is batting,” he was quoted as saying by IANS.

Speaking about Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, the former all-rounder said all captains have performed well.

“If you look at Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India won a lot of series during his tenure that they had not won before. Every captain has his own style, Rohit is the captain currently and he is doing well so I wish him all the best and hope they win the final,” he added, according to the report.

India have a 14-11 lead over South Africa in T20 internationals while they lead 4-2 in T20 World Cups. In the last five meetings, however, the Proteas have a 3-2 lead.

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