Cricket World Cup 2011
'Unburdened' SA to win CWC?
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – The Proteas, while doubtless keen to keep flying quietly beneath the radar if they can, are being increasingly touted among the front-runners to win the World Cup.
The latest nod of confidence came on Wednesday from Peter Roebuck, the cerebral former captain of Somerset and widely regarded as one of the planet’s foremost commentators on the game.
Author and columnist Roebuck, who spends much of his life either in Australia or South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Midlands these days, wrote in a piece on the Cricinfo website that Graeme Smith’s team “are surely ready to take the leap”.
Under a headline “South Africa’s unburdened youngsters could do it”, Roebuck tempered his optimism by saying that the tournament was wide open.
But he did not disguise his conviction that the Proteas are finally capable of going all the way in an event that has traditionally tormented and jinxed them.
“A conviction has arisen that it is going to be the year of the choker, with the All Blacks likewise romping to victory in the rugby tournament (later in the year).
“Smith has under his command a combination of experience and proven talent. Free from the scars of the past, the younger players can enjoy the challenge of trying to win the World Cup, a feat already achieved twice by their rugby comrades.
“It is a chance to be grasped, not a burden to be borne.”
The writer also lauded the Proteas’ change of strategic tack, as evidenced in the opening triumph over West Indies.
“Previously inclined to put all its eggs in the pace basket, South Africa fielded three spinners in their opening match and though the strategy might not be adopted for every game, the fact that spin was used as an attacking weapon revealed a shift in the prevailing mentality.
“Of course it helped that a handy leg-spinner from Lahore (Imran Tahir) had settled locally, and that the best three tweakers in the country used contrasting styles.”