Cape Town - The Proteas players feel the negative press they have received in the last while was uncalled for.
The team will lose its No 1 status in Test cricket after the conclusion of the current series against England, who boast an unassailable 2-0 series lead heading into Thursday’s final Test in Centurion.
Before the England series, the South Africans also lost a Test series 3-0 in India and they have copped heavy criticism for their performances.
But opener Dean Elgar feels some of the criticism is unfair.
Elgar responded to comments made by former captain Graeme Smith, who hit out at the team’s efforts after last weekend’s Test at the Wanderers.
“It hurts when it’s coming from people who were part of the set-up and knows what it’s all about,” Elgar told Netwerk24.
“I think our team management deserves to be held in higher regard, and not cop as much criticism as they are currently receiving. I think they, the team management, did everything that was expected of them.”
Smith’s comments came after England won the Wanderers Test by 7 wickets, courtesy of bowling South Africa out for a meagre 83 in their second innings.
"The players have to take responsibility for their performances, there's no doubt about that, but the management do too," Smith said after the game.
"They haven't quite come into the equation of late. At the end the day the performances of the test team for the last year haven't been good enough, so you have to ask questions of everybody.
"How is management getting the best out of them, how are they preparing them, are they directed in the right way, do they need to be firmer, do they need to be softer? I don't know.
"These are all questions that need to come out of the environment. When you are not performing well, people are going to ask questions and you've got to live with it."
In an unprecedented step, current national selector Ashwell Prince also hit out at skipper AB de Villiers.
“It’s never nice to hear such criticism,” Elgar continued. “Many players say they don’t read what’s written in the newspapers, but I’m someone that does read it. I can honestly say we’re still a tight unit. I think it’s best not to let the criticism bother you, but it’s not so easy.”