Fielding was the key in '98 win: Mark Boucher | india | Hindustan Times
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Fielding was the key in '98 win: Mark Boucher

Boucher talks about the memorable truimph in 1998 Champions Trophy.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:22 IST

The factors that ensured South Africa’s win in 1998.

During that period we were on a winning spree. We were hungry, experienced and had a fantastic team combination. I think we were the best team in that particular tournament.

What gave you the edge over other teams during those years?

I would say we had a very well-knit unit, a had a talented bunch of cricketers. And we had a fantastic coach in Bob Woolmer. The team was a good mixture of experienced, talented and young cricketers. We enjoyed Woolmer’s way of coaching, specially fielding, which made a big difference. In short, fielding was the key.

Batting also was a huge strength, and Kallis hit that brilliant 113 against Sri Lanka. What was the strategy against the Lankans?

Very simple. Since Muttiah Muralitharan was the most dangerous of the Lankan bowlers, we decided to play him safely. We were extra cau tious during Muralitharan's 10 overs.

Your memories of Cronje’s captaincy and Kallis’ all-round brilliance in the final vs West Indies.

Hansie was a top-class captain who could inject self-belief among all of us. In return, we were ready to give our 110 per cent. I think Jacques was in magnificent form both with bat and ball. He wanted to be the best cricketer in the tournament from the word go. And he got the result.

Your views on the original format of the event (knockout). Do you feel that the revised format is better, and why?

I think the revised format is better: I do not like cut-throat cricket. Teams could not make comebacks. But you can improve during the current format of the Champions' Trophy.

How exactly did the team prepare for the 1998 tournament?

Bob Woolmer explained to us how to cope with the flat tracks of the Subcontinent’s wickets. We toured India  and Pakistan previously to gain valuable experience which we implemented during that tournament and even after that.

The West Indies were on a roll, with Philo Wallace, Chanderpaul and Lara in great form. What strategy did South Africa adopt for the final?

We knew Philo Wallace could be a dangerous customer. We decided to put them under pressure from the beginning. That was the main point in our strategy. Wallace, Chanderpaul and Lara really played well but the team effort we put in helped us to clinch the tournament.

Who will win the 2006 Champions Trophy?
 
(Laughs) Of course we are one of the contenders. I think we will get the champion from the top six teams of the world.