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Donald eyes 300 wickets, World Cup

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Cape Town: Pace bowler Allan Donald goes into Friday's first Test against New Zealand in Bloemfontein on the brink of becoming the first South African to take 300 Test wickets.It is a milestone every cricket follower in the country is willing him to reach, but they are also hoping it will not mean the end of the road for a well-loved sportsman.Ever since last year's World Cup, everyone - including Donald himself - has been talking about the magical 300 mark as if it represented the logical end to a brilliant career. Now however, the 34 year-old is talking in terms of new goals.''I want to play in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa,'' Donald said on Wednesday. ''It would be wonderful for South Africa to win the trophy in front of our own people. I have never forgotten the impact the rugby Springboks had when they won the World Cup on home soil in 1995,'' he said.''Obviously, I want to get the remaining three wickets I need to achieve the 300 mark first, but I think it's realistic to aim for 400 in the longer term.'' Donald has not been helped in his bid for 300 by a mystery bug, which has laid him low over the past 24 hours. He is confident though that he will be healthy by Friday to attempt to reach the milestone in the town where he was born.''I just have to be patient,'' he said. ''I'm going to have to have to play for the team and not worry about my own ambitions. I don't want to go out there and just expect to take three wickets in my first spell. I've got to do what I do well, bowl five overs for 10 runs, and if I don't get them there, then there are five long days in which anything can happen.''A measure of the confidence his hometown have in Donald passing 300 wickets is the reception planned in his honour for Saturday evening - just the second day of the Test match. The somewhat presumptuous celebration will not have gone unnoticed by the injury-hit New Zealand squad, who go into the series as huge underdogs despite a strong recent Test record.The city elders may not be entirely to blame for their keen desire to honour their favourite son, as the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) have openly admitted to scheduling the Test in Bloemfontein to allow Donald his big moment.The player himself, however, is distancing himself from the hype. ''One thing we must not do is underestimate New Zealand. Some of their top players are out with injuries, but they have played well in their warm-up games and that will have boosted their confidence. I think their batting has pleased them and their bowlers have done pretty well.''(c) Reuters Limited. Click here for Restrictions


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