It is the World Cup, no doubt. But when it’s being hosted in India, in a global cricket ecosystem revolving around the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), seldom does a media interaction get over without the mention of the three-lettered acronym.
Monday was no exception as Aiden Markram, the South Africa vice-captain, addressed the media at the Wankhede Stadium ahead of his team’s game against Bangladesh on Tuesday.
“We are fortunate with quite a few guys now being involved in the IPL, so having experienced the various grounds - because each venue is quite different in terms of condition - and having that experience now within the camp certainly helps us as a team,” Markram said after South Africa’s optional training.
“If you look at it generally the wickets have been really good. We expected to come here and the wickets play pretty well and plans and the build-up towards this World Cup was with that in mind. So that’s pretty much where we are at. The experience of IPL players, I suppose, has really helped and the experience from guys in the management, the coaching staff that have played a lot of cricket here in India or coached in IPLs has also helped us a lot.”
Come Tuesday and South Africa will be banking much more on the IPL experience against Bangladesh. On the current form, one may feel it’s a lop-sided contest in South Africa’s favour. But considering the head-to-head record - overall and in the World Cup - Bangladesh holds an edge.
No wonder then that Markram preferred to focus more on having the advantage of having played at the Wankhede over the weekend. More than England’s bowling, it was the hot and humid conditions in Mumbai that made the Proteas’ batting unit struggle before piling on 399 on the board.
“Our previous game here was a bit of a rude awakening. We always knew it was going to be hot and humid coming to India in general, and especially Mumbai and places like Chennai. But it was quite brutal the other night. Most of the guys have got their feet up but there are still one or two just ticking a few boxes and making sure that mentally they go into tomorrow feeling ready.”
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