Requested to call his enduring reminiscence of the World Cup, Allan Donald’s thoughts travels again to 1999 not, he says, due to his “tragic” run-out in that legendary semi-final, however as a result of he is aware of in his coronary heart that South Africa had the flexibility to win the match.
And, talking at Canterbury forward of an English season which can function the World Cup’s return to this nation for the primary time since that match, Donald drew parallels between his South Africa facet of 20 years in the past, and the potential of the present England staff which appears set to start this 12 months’s marketing campaign as favourites.
“My reminiscence that may all the time stand out is the ’99 World Cup, not as a result of I used to be run out within the semi-final, however the staff that I performed with, that staff had the idea, I simply knew that staff had the flexibility to win the World Cup for certain,” Donald advised ESPNcricinfo. “The disappointing reality of what occurred was only a actual tragedy.
“To have performed and represented your nation for 4 World Cups has been sensible however not having received any of them has most likely been probably the most disappointing factor of all. I hope this South African facet pulls it by means of, for the nation, it wants that kind of factor, so I actually hope that they’ll do one thing fairly particular.”
Whereas his coronary heart may say South Africa for the win, Donald’s head agrees wholeheartedly with England carrying the label of favourites into the 2019 version and he likened the host facet’s potential – each on the sector and as regards to embracing favouritism – to that 1999 South African staff, specifically how captain Hansie Cronje was eager for them to enjoy being seen as those to beat.
Donald, who was England bowling coach in 2007 earlier than turning down the job full-time for household causes, mentioned the present England facet had been nicely settled, had house benefit and had been completely positioned to embrace, relatively than shun, the hype surrounding them as favourites – one thing that coach Trevor Bayliss has additionally been eager to stress.
“On present kind, you have to say that England are taking part in a model of cricket that is saying to others, ‘you are going to beat us, you are going to should play out of your boots,'” mentioned Donald, who’s about to start out his second season as assistant coach at Kent. “They’ve put down a marker for everybody else.”
One other “however” follows, though not almost as closely emphasised as earlier than: “However you’ve got obtained an Indian staff who’re taking part in as nicely proper now, the Aussies are making a transfer and do not throw away West Indies rapidly, as a result of they now have discovered a brand new lease of life and confidence.”
Whereas he wish to consider South Africa may “do one thing fairly particular” and obtain a feat which none of their predecessors has managed – they’ve by no means progressed past the semi-finals – Donald admitted going through England within the World Cup opener was “going to be a tricky one for them”.
He appeared extra assured about Pakistan inflicting an upset, as they did in 1992, scraping by means of the group stage to defeat New Zealand within the semi-finals, earlier than beat England of their maiden World Cup closing look.
“Pakistan simply discover a manner generally. The unpredictability of Pakistan can by no means, ever be placed on the backburner,” Donald mentioned of the facet ranked No. 6 on the earth in ODIs however who received the final international match to be performed on English soil – the Champions Trophy in 2017.
However Donald was much more enthused about West Indies, who drew their latest ODI collection with England 2-2 within the Caribbean due to some extraordinary batting from Chris Gayle and a bowling show, led by Sheldon Cottrell, that held its personal towards England’s highly effective batting line-up.
“Be careful for the West Indies, I say, be careful for the West Indies,” Donald mentioned. “There’s simply one thing there, there is a new spark there that I believe the remainder of the world wish to see – West Indies competing like they’re proper now. The lads in Maroon, for me, I might say, be cautious of them, they are going to actually be an element on this World Cup.”