WC 2003 - SA coach hopes a hero emerges in crucial tie vs Lanka

Published: Monday, March 3, 2003, 0:44 [IST]
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Durban: South African coach Eric Simons hopes a hero will emerge during Monday's key World Cup clash against Sri Lanka to lift his team into the Super Sixes."On Monday we need a hero," Simons told SAPA news agency ahead of the day-night encounter at Kingsmead where a victory for the hosts will see them top Group B."Winning cricket matches is about heroic performances. We want everyone in the squad to realise that they have that heroic ability within." Describing the game as a "do-or-die" affair, Simons said the topsy-turvy league so far prevented him from making predictions.South Africa was down in the dumps when it lost to the West Indies and New Zealand. But Kenya stunned Sri Lanka while the West Indies had its game against Bangladesh abandoned by rain to allow the hosts to bounce back."It's rather bizarre how things have worked out," Simons admitted. "There was one week where the situation changed daily. Now I suppose it's hero or zero. If the situation arises that we need crucial wickets or runs at the end, we want every player to welcome that opportunity and to perform." South Africa enjoys a good record against Sri Lanka and won both the Test and One-day series when the islanders were here last November. The unique pressures of a World Cup, however, have proved how unreliable the form book can be.Sri Lanka defeated both the West Indies and New Zealand, but South Africa fancies its chances at Kingsmead. According to both Lance Klusener and Herschelle Gibbs, Kingsmead is the ideal ground to play the Lankans."Kingsmead probably offers the most bounce in South Africa," said Gibbs."I was watching Sri Lanka against the West Indies and some of their batters really struggled against the bounce." There has been criticism that the toss at Kingsmead determines the outcome of the game, but both Simons and skipper Shaun Pollock refuted the notion.Pollock even went to the extent of saying he did not "give a damn" about the toss."I really don't think it's a factor batting second," Pollock said. "What matters is how you adjust to certain scenarios and I think we can chase down any score."Copyright AFP 2001

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