India always had skill. All they needed was a bit of steel. The South African trio of coach Gary Kirsten, mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton and bowling coach Eric Simons provided that to turn them into world beaters.
“There’s some tension and nerves at the start… We’ve been preparing for a year now, and we talked about it today.
We said we have done everything we needed to do,” said Paddy Upton amidst the din of celebrations after Saturday’s win. “The guys were very focused. We wanted it, we worked for it, we prepared for it.”
Upton said eventually it was going to boil down to which side was better prepared. “We knew what role each of us needed to play, and if we stay focused, it (the win) would happen,” said Upton.
The performance in the league stage was a bit up and down, raising doubts about the team’s ability to go all the way. Upton, however, had no such doubts. “Before the quarterfinals, we had done what we needed to do. The team was ready to win the final.”
On the eve of India’s last league match against the West Indies, Upton had told HT that the team was ready to lift the Cup. “I didn’t predict it, but the win didn’t come as surprise either.”
Upton admitted the ‘favourite tag’ did put some additional pressure on the team. “There’s pressure when you are expected to win, but we did well in not allowing it to affect us negatively. We turned it around to use it to our advantage.”
With this, the South Africans association with the Indian team is over. “The team is No 1 in Tests and World Champions in ODIs; it is a fairytale ending.”