(MENAFN- IANS) Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 28 (IANS) South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada believes he is ready to lead a rejuvenated South African attack to their first ICC Men's Cricket World Cup trophy.
The Proteas failed to advance beyond the group stage in the last edition of Men's ODI World Cup 2019, but are yet to taste a series of defeats in ODIs this year.
“One thing we have never lacked as South Africans is belief, so going into the tournament we do believe we can win it,” said Rabada during the press conference, here on Thursday.
“We've got the players to do so, so hopefully we can make our first final and win this competition. It's going to be hard but it's going to be really enjoyable.
“It's exciting to have the best players in the world playing against each other and competing for one prize, and we are up for the challenge.”
Injuries to fellow quicks Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala have dealt a blow to the team's hopes, but that has done little to quell Rabada's optimism whose side began their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in Delhi on 7 October.
The four-time semi-finalists struggled in 2019 but have since risen to fourth in the ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings, and are full of confidence after a 3-2 series victory over Australia.
Twenty-eight-year-old Rabada, who is one of eight survivors from the squad who competed in England four years ago, is relishing the responsibility of being one of the team's elder statesmen and helping captain Temba Bavuma plot the team's path to success.
“The 2019 World Cup was my first and I wasn't successful at all,” Rabada continued.
“The lesson I took from that is that team cohesion is the most important factor, because individuals don't win World Cups, teams do. The older I have become and the more caps I have, the more I realise that I am a leader in that environment.
“Through knowing my own strengths and reinforcing them, knowing what makes me tick, and through lending an ear to other players, I want to help set how we play as a collective.”
Rabada also boasts a strong knowledge of subcontinent conditions, having excelled across several seasons in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Proteas has played 11 white-ball matches in India since 2022, and he feels their collective experience could set them apart from the rest.
“It does help when you understand the conditions in the various grounds, and having played in India for all these years, it gives you a familiarity on how to go about your tactics
“The majority of our team has played in India, but for those who haven't played as much, it is important to share experiences. In India, you have drier conditions and they are batter-friendly wickets, so it's about finding ways to be successful.
"Managing the noise and distractions is really important and I think it's just about focusing and not letting the crowd get to you. But at the same time, it is exciting to be playing in packed stadiums with tens of thousands of screaming fans - it's an honor.”
Proteas will be playing warm-up against Afghanistan, on Friday here at Thiruvananthapuram, followed by New Zealand on October 2.
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