Durham - They have played poor cricket and that is why they are no longer in the Cricket World Cup picture, but the off-field issues that have plagued South Africa's campaign in England cannot be ignored. 

The players and coaching staff will tell you that it is not an excuse, and it isn't, but from the second the Proteas arrived in England things have been going wrong on and off the field. 

There were injuries to Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi and Hashim Amla, while after their first three losses news broke that AB de Villiers had allegedly made himself available for World Cup selection just a day or two before the squad was announced back in April. 

While all of this has been going on, and while the Proteas have slipped to what is their worst ever performance at a World Cup, the domestic landscape back in South Africa has also been in turbulent waters. 

A proposed restructure to the domestic setup has seen Cricket South Africa (CSA) move on an expansion from six franchises to 12, but the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) are going down the legal path to see exactly how CSA can justify the move from a financial perspective. 

It is all painting a picture of uncertain times ahead for South African cricket, and that impacts directly on the players currently at the World Cup. 

Speaking to media at The Riverside on Thursday, however, JP Duminy played down the role the external factors had had on South Africa's campaign.

"Honestly, I think it's had no part," he said.

"We've been strong, particularly the leadership of the team. We have been strong in the fact we have created a bubble and there are certain things that we understand."

Duminy was answering a question that spoke directly to the battle between CSA and SACA.

"Coming here, that has been the last thing on our mind," he said.

"We had one mission, and that was to play really good cricket in this World Cup and give ourselves a good chance to get into the play-offs and take it from there.

"Unfortunately, we have come up short and our skills haven't been good enough on this trip.

"We are mature group of men that have come along for a long way and we can't use that as an excuse.

"We are professionals and I think we've created a good environment and a culture that understands how to block out the negativity."

South Africa are preparing for a meaningless clash against Sri Lanka on Friday. They end their tournament with a trip to Manchester to take on Australia on July 6. 

Play on Friday starts at 11:30 (SA time). 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...