ICC World Cup 2019: Underdog tag may suit South Africa, says Hashim Amlahttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket-world-cup/icc-world-cup-2019-south-africa-hashim-amla-5744354/

ICC World Cup 2019: Underdog tag may suit South Africa, says Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla said the Proteas have rarely been mentioned among the pre-tournament favourites this time, unlike previous World Cups, and that this underdog status may help them bury the ghosts of past editions.

Hashim Amla has played for South Africa in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups (File Photo)

Hashim Amla has said South Africa may flourish under the decreased expectations on them at the ICC World Cup 2019. Speaking to media on Wednesday, the 36-year-old pointed out how the Proteas have rarely been mentioned among the pre-tournament favourites this time, unlike previous World Cups, and how this underdog status may help them bury the ghosts of the past editions.

Amla was quoted as saying on the ICC website, “This year, you don’t see the same big names and that is why the focus is not on us but that has some good in it. There has not been much chat about us winning in comparison to the past.”

“The fact there has not been a lot of chat at this World Cup means there is less expectation but in the team we think we can do well.”

The 2019 World Cup will be Amla’s third World Cup. He played the last two editions, both of which ended in defeats to New Zealand.

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Most of the players in the South African team, which lost to New Zealand at the 2015 World Cup semi final, by 4 wickets with 1 ball left, are in the team this time as well. Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen have replaced AB de Villiers and Rilee Rossouw, while Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are sure to add firepower to the pace bowling department in the places of the outgoing Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

Amla missed the ODI series against Sri Lanka earlier this year as well as the IPL, and loss of form meant that his place in the World Cup squad was also in jeopardy. However, the veteran of two World Cups said he has used the time away to regain his focus.

“I am hungrier than ever before, there is no doubt about that. I have been blessed to have this shirt for a while but the time off has made me want to come back stronger,” he said.