Australia in SA

Waugh: Proteas one-dimensional under World Cup pressure

2020-02-18 16:03
Steve Waugh (Getty)
Steve Waugh (Getty)

Berlin - As preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia gather momentum, the Proteas are still eyeing their first piece of major silverware in limited overs cricket since the 1998 ICC Champions Trophy.

It has been a long road of disappointment after disappointment, particularly in ODI cricket where they have come so close, but fallen short on numerous occasions.

The semi-final in 1999, where Allan Donald was famously run-out with the Proteas needing just one run for victory against Australia, still haunts South African cricket to this day.

Experts of the game have offered theories on exactly why South Africa has struggled historically on the biggest stage, but it has remained one of the game's mysteries.

There is, of course, no scientific reason.

Speaking at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin, 1999 World Cup-winning captain Steve Waugh offered his thoughts.

Waugh acknowledges that much of it has had to do with luck, but he expanded to suggest that the Proteas were not flexible enough to change their plans under pressure.

"I just think back to 1999 and they said South Africa choked, but we choked as well, but they just choked at the wrong time. We choked the over before and it didn't matter as much," Waugh said.

"I think maybe the only way I can sum it up is that South Africa wanted it too much and were a bit too regimented and one-dimensional. Under those extreme moments of pressure, they haven't really had a back-up plan or a way to improvise and think on their feet.

"The really good thing is that they've put themselves in positions to lose those close matches. A lot of teams aren't there. they've still done really well."

Waugh believes that South African cricket is still rich in talent and he says that once they get over the psychological hurdle of winning a major tournament, they are likely to kick on from there.

"When you do it, it gives you that belief but until you've done it, you can't get that belief. You just need to do it that one time and then you'll be alright," he said.

"I'm sure that's the case for South Africa that if they win one, they'll wonder why they were so stressed about it. You've just got to somehow win that first one."

In terms of this year's World Cup, which gets underway in October, Waugh believes the hosts are best placed to win.

"Australia will be one of the favourites, if not the favourites for the T20 World Cup. They're a good team and capable of beating anyone so they will fancy their chances," he said.

"South Africa, maybe it's their time when it's least expected. Maybe they can pull a surprise.

"It's a bit of a stretch to think they might win it, but T20 has a bit more of an element of luck to it and if you get on a roll and a couple of players get some form, then there is definitely a chance.

"South Africa has a lot of talent in T20 cricket. I wouldn't rule them out."

The Proteas are hosting Australia in three ODIs and three T20s starting on February 21.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

Who will win the upcoming India v Proteas three-match ODI series?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.