Ind vs SA, T20 World Cup 2024, final – Luggage holds sway over historical baggage in tight turnaround to final

Ind vs SA, T20 World Cup 2024, final – Luggage holds sway over historical baggage in tight turnaround to final

While history looms large over the T20 World Cup final, neither side thinks it will play much part on the day of the final. This is South Africa’s maiden final in World Cup cricket, while India have lost in the knockouts of all World Cups bar one since 2014.

It was said India lost to a mentally tougher side when they came up against Australia in last year’s 50-over final, but India don’t feel that is an advantage they take into the match against South Africa who, going by the trophy cabinet at least, are the team with the least experience of the circumstances they now find themselves.
“I mean it’s not that the same players have been playing since 1991,” India’s coach Rahul Dravid said. “Many players have come and gone. I don’t think that really matters. I can’t speak for any of them. I don’t think players go on keeping the baggage of the past and what has happened in the past. Every day is a fresh day.

“Players are very good at moving on from things. I think just as we will move on from Ahmedabad, I’m sure they will not be thinking about history, and it will be a fresh day. Two good teams, two teams I think that everyone will agree are the top two teams in this tournament, two teams that have played the best cricket in this tournament, both South Africa and India.”

While Dravid said he couldn’t speak on behalf of South Africa, Aiden Markram didn’t quite echo the sentiment, especially when asked if his team ran the risk of being overwhelmed after crossing a major hurdle.

“We were obviously a happy bunch the other night after qualifying for the final, but it’s amazing…” Markram said. “I’m sure all teams do it, but straight after that game in the changing-room, you still reflect and you say, guys, we’ve still got one more step to go. So, it’s not driven by coach or by captain. The whole unit sort of feels that and is driven by that.

“As general, sportsmen are highly competitive people and nobody would want to lose, and especially not lose in a final. So, I think there’s no sense that the guys are satisfied regardless of the result tomorrow. I think there’s still a massive hunger for us to go out and win tomorrow’s game.”

It does help both sides that there is hardly any time between matches, and so little time to build the occasion up too much in their minds. Having qualified before India, South Africa had an extra day in hand but it was spent at an airport because of a long delay in flights. The enormity of the final is the last thing on your mind when you are killing time sitting in a corner, whether you’re travelling alone or looking after your family. You are likely more worried about your luggage than history.

By the time India checked in at Georgetown Airport to fly to Barbados, the date had either ticked over or was pretty closing to ticking over to the day before the final. The preparation for both the teams has centred on getting their individual plans right and looking after their bodies.

“It’s just about all the guys getting into ensuring that physically, mentally, tactically we are ready for the game,” Dravid said. “Those are the things that we can control: that we are fresh, that we have looked after all our niggles if there are any, we have done all our tactical preparation and we are mentally relaxed and excited and looking forward to the game. Those are the things we can control.”

Having not played in Barbados before, South Africa did have an optional training session unlike India, but the sentiment is the same. Their preparation is centred on the small things rather than reflecting on the bigger picture.

“You get in a competition like this and things move pretty quickly,” Markram said. “You play a game, you get on a plane, you fly, you check in at a new hotel and play your next game of cricket the next day. So, I don’t think there’s too much reflecting that happens. But it’s more the opportunity that we have of being in a final that excites me quite a bit.”

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