Allan Donald cuts a menacing figure even nine years after his retirement. His stride purposeful, shoulders as if concealing latent torque, Donald wipes away a single rivulet of sweat from his cheek, disturbing the butterfly-like symmetry of zinc cream on his face. In Chennai recently as New Zealand’s bowling coach, Donald, now 44, put the fear of God in batsmen in his prime. But pace, blinding or brisk, is not what he considers the key to this World Cup.
“I spoke to the boys about the ball reversing, about preparing the ball to get it swinging in the end overs. Bowling at the death, that’s where reverse swing is going to be a massive thing and a huge key for me in this World Cup. That’s where games are going to be won or lost,” he says.
After suffering a demoralising defeat to India in a practice game at Chennai, New Zealand easily won its opening match against Kenya. But firmer tests lie ahead, and the Kiwis, coming into the premier event with three morale-sapping ODI series losses (0-4 to Bangladesh, 0-5 to India and 2-3 to Pakistan), will have to be prepared for tougher contests. Donald, the first South African to reach 300 Test wickets, joined the Kiwi camp in January, and the first thing he told his wards was not to expect miracles.
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