Cricket World Cup 2011

Corrie stands by his choices

2011-03-27 17:31
Corrie van Zyl (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Proteas' coach Corrie van Zyl apologised on Sunday for disappointing fans but said, with hindsight, he would not have done anything differently and he took the right team to India.

"I don’t think we needed anyone else there. I stand by what I said before we left for the World Cup -- for those conditions, we had the right XV," Van Zyl told reporters at a Johannesburg airport hotel on Sunday morning.

South Africa lost to New Zealand in the quarterfinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Dhaka on Friday night.

"They played some superb cricket, barring 10 overs on Friday night. I wouldn’t have done anything different in terms of preparation or personnel.

"I believe this team will carry South Africa forward into the future and they are also managed by a very professional outfit and I would like to thank them all for their support."

Van Zyl, who now bows out as coach, thanked the Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who was present at the media conference, for his unwavering support and uplifting message to the team.

The coach paid tribute to the players, the backroom staff, the fans and the media and made particular mention of Cricket South Africa who gave the team everything they needed to prepare for the World Cup.

"Everything we asked for, we got," he said.

"I am deeply sorry for the disappointment to everyone who supported us. Pressure is a major thing. You know you have to do well in a knock-out game. It is important to keep your composure and, on Friday night, we didn’t do that."

Van Zyl said they needed to put the past behind them and not use it as a weapon to bring the team down.

"In the interests of going forward, we need to put the past behind us. It is an extra burden to keep reminding the players of the past. Be there for the team. Yes, report when the team didn’t do well, but we seem to make it into a bigger issue and the media use the word ‘choker’ to get at us. We need to deal with it and not cover it over, but not add to the pressure by reminding us about it all the time."

Van Zyl would not comment on a spat after AB de Villiers was run out, involving Faf du Plessis and a number of Kiwis. He said Kyle Mills was fined 120 percent of his match fee for making physical contact with du Plessis. The South African was fined half his fee for retaliating.

Van Zyl was unable to describe the atmosphere in the changeroom afterwards.

"You had to be there. It’s very difficult to explain. I told them, I know it hurts and it’s going to hurt for a long time and people will say things. But it’s a new team, with a new culture and this team has embarked on a new direction. Their camaraderie and spirit is amazing.

"In the dressing room, the guys are an unbelievable bunch of individuals with a lot of talent. I just reminded them that they have to take it (the experience) forward. They will win the World Cup in the future."

Van Zyl said there was much to be positive about and players like Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson had been a revelation.

"We must not lose sight of the positives. There is so much talent and this team must be kept together as the lessons learned can be taken into the future.

"Experience is a key part of it. No one can be prepared for what happens when you take the field in Nagpur or Dhaka. You can’t prepare people for that. You have to have played in these situations and the more you play in these conditions the more experience you gain."

Team manager Mohammed Moosajee apologised for the lack of any players being present at the media conference. Captain Graeme Smith had remained overseas to attend to personal affairs. The other players had already returned to their homes.

Applications for a new coach closed in February and the board would meet in a couple of weeks to begin interviews for a suitable candidate.

Board member Andy O’Conner who met the team on their arrival would not disclose the names of applicants, but did confirm that former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming had not applied for the job.

The players have a long break ahead of them, as the next scheduled tour is on home soil against Australia in October.


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