ICC World Twenty20

Matthews: SA missing in action

2010-05-11 20:14
Craig Matthews (Gallo Images)

Durban - South Africa went missing in action at the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean, according to former selector Craig Matthews.

"I don't think a single player looked in touch or in-form which begs a lot of questions about their preparation," former vice-captain Matthews told Reuters on Tuesday, the day after South Africa were knocked out of the tournament.

"Perhaps we get so nervous at these events that we just look under-prepared. To win an ICC event a team needs its big-name players to come to the party but ... the whole team went missing in action.

"If I was still involved with CSA (Cricket South Africa) I would be seriously worried. There is very obviously a big problem," added Matthews after Monday's 11-run defeat by Pakistan in St Lucia ended their Twenty20 involvement.

South Africa have only won one major global competition, the inaugural Champions Trophy in Dhaka in 1998, and their subsequent performances have seen them earn a media tag of 'chokers'.

"I'm not so sure it was just a choke this time, I think it might have been even worse than that," added 45-year-old former seam bowler Matthews who played in 18 Tests and 56 one-dayers for his country.

"We were desperate and dreadful in every game. We normally start very well then stumble but this time we looked awful in every game."

South Africa, who went into the Twenty20 as second favourites behind Australia, won two of their five matches.

Their formidable batting line-up, including captain Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers, failed to sparkle as the team hit only two half-centuries.

Former opening batsman Andrew Hudson, who takes over as convenor of the national selectors on June 1, said fresh faces could be the answer.

"I don't want to pre-empt anything until the captain and coach have had their say and we've heard their feedback," Hudson told Reuters.

"My emphasis will be on looking forward rather than backwards. Other teams have overtaken us and the composition of the T20 teams is quite different from that of the ODI and Test teams.

"Choke? That's an emotive word and I'm not one for putting labels on players," added Hudson. "But my aim is certainly to spread the net as wide as possible and hunt out players with big match temperament who respond well to pressure situations."

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