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India’s Dravid hoping for third time lucky

India enters Saturday’s T20 World Cup final against South Africa aiming to secure their first world title after suffering consecutive losses in recent finals. Coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma faced disappointment last year with defeats in the World Test Championship and the 50-over World Cup, both against Australia.

Despite these setbacks, India, renowned for popularizing T20 cricket through the Indian Premier League, stands on the verge of claiming their second T20 World Cup title, the first since their inaugural win in 2007. Dravid, who will step down as coach after this tournament, views India’s two runner-up finishes as a testament to the team’s consistency across different formats.

“We’ve shown great consistency across all formats, being number one in Test cricket, performing well in ODIs, and reaching T20 finals. It reflects well on our players. Indian cricket has demonstrated remarkable consistency, and we’re optimistic that with good performance and some luck, we can clinch the title,” Dravid stated.

Reflecting on the painful loss in the 50-over World Cup final in Ahmedabad, Dravid emphasized that preparation for Saturday’s final at Kensington Oval remains similar to previous matches, despite past disappointments. He acknowledged South Africa’s unbeaten record in the tournament and recognized them as formidable opponents.

“South Africa, like us, have had an excellent tournament and deserve their place in the final. They have the right to win, but we’re focused on playing better cricket on the day,” Dravid added.

South Africa, seeking their maiden World Cup title since returning to international cricket in 1991, carry their own expectations into the final. However, Dravid believes that the historical pressure on South Africa will not affect the current players’ mindset.

“As players come and go, the pressure from past tournaments doesn’t linger. Every day is a fresh start, and players are adept at moving forward,” Dravid remarked, underscoring the importance of focusing on the present rather than historical burdens.

Dravid anticipates an exciting final on a batting-friendly pitch in Barbados, expecting a thrilling contest between two of the tournament’s standout teams.

“With both India and South Africa having played exceptional cricket throughout, it promises to be a deserving final. We hope for a great spectacle and aim to finish on the winning side,” Dravid concluded optimistically.

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