Cricket World Cup 2011

Proteas to face the music

2011-03-27 22:41
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)

Eduan Roos and Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – All 15 Proteas will soon have to explain to SA cricket why they have again failed to progress past the knockout stage of a World Cup.

That was the word from Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola on Sunday after the team was upset by New Zealand in their quarter-final match.

South Africa appeared to be well on their way to victory, but lost their last eight wickets for 64 runs and went down by 49 runs. New Zealand had earlier posted 221/8.

“We were all confident that we could win this time because until before the game the players had really performed well under pressure,” said Majola.

“To be able to score 222 for them is about as easy as a Sunday afternoon outing and we simply needed to build one or two good partnerships.”

The Proteas have now been unable to progress beyond the semifinals in six World Cup tournaments and have not won any of their five knockout games in the tournament.

“I thought that we would have learned our lesson from the defeat to England when we also lost against ourselves,” Majola said in reference to the defeat by six runs in the group match in Chennai.

“I went to speak to the team in the dressing room after the game (against the Kiwis) and a lot of the guys were in tears. I have never seen them so disappointed,” said Majola.

He added that CSA would guard against a “witch hunt”, but that the players and management would be called to account.

“Nobody can find fault with the quality of players we have because they have already proven that they can beat anybody,” said Majola.

“The problem had to be our mental toughness, which is something that we have repeatedly examined. We made a number of psychologists available to the side, including Henning Gericke, who is the best in the country.

“At this stage the executive council is at a loss as to what to do and we will sit down with each of the players and probe why they are unable to achieve in pressure games,” said Majola.

“We have to hear from them what happened and why.”

Coach Corrie van Zyl and team manager Dr. Mohammad Moosajee both believe that South African cricket again paid the price for what has happened to the country at previous World Cups.

Both believe that the word “choker” should be banned from South African cricket.

“People use that word to run us down mentally. It is not in the interests of the players to remind them of that,” Van Zyl said at a media conference at OR Tambo Airport on Sunday.

Moosajee said that it should be accepted that the history of previous teams at World Cups had followed the current side like a nightmare.

“There is added pressure on the players because they are constantly reminded of what happened in the past. The “choker”-tag is drilled into them so much that it has to have an effect.

“In the interests of the players the cricketing public has to forget about that word and not keep harping on it,” said Van Zyl.


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