ICC Champions Trophy 2013 May 25, 2013

South Africa depart with understated expectations

South Africa go into the Champions Trophy with realistic expectations, especially without a few key figures in the fold
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The hotel adjacent to Johannesburg's international airport is familiar with South African cricket's expectations. Whenever the team departs on an overseas assignment, they hold their media engagements in one of its conference rooms.

At such times the room is filled with a great sense of hope. Over the last two years, it has heard men like Corrie van Zyl and Graeme Smith talk about their goals, and make promises to bring back something for the South African public to be proud of. More times than not, they have fulfilled those aspirations.

The only time they have let the fans down is after major tournaments. So much so, that the hotel is also used to South African cricket's disappointment, because it is the same venue used for the press conference when they return home.

If the wood panelled walls could talk, they would tell of words like "dark mist," which Gary Kirsten used after the team returned empty handed after the 2012 World Twenty20. He did not make the mistake of saying this time will be different.

"I couldn't tell you we are going to win the event but we will give it our best shot," Kirsten said. "I don't do this job to win trophies even though I know I am measured by that. I love the work. I am trying to make the team the best they can be. If that ends in us making more progress than we have in previous knockout tournaments, I will be happy."

For the first time in recent memory, South Africa embarked on an ICC tournament without pledging to come back winners. It was a sobering status update: this team are not favourites.

They are without two of their most important players in Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith. They have a leader and wicketkeeper who is still finding his feet in AB de Villiers. A middle order with two players, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, who have not been active in weeks. A coach that will soon be on the way out come August, and a squad that has not been together in almost two months. So to expect them to come back with the trophy may be a little too much to expect.

Kirsten is not talking a big game because he doesn't have too much to advertise. All he hopes is that South Africa give a respectable account of themselves, and that amounts to enough for the people back home. "We're going to use the processes that we've used throughout the two years, which has brought us some good success in the Test arena. We are going to build on that as much as possible. There is no success package on the market that we can use to win. You need a bit of luck and [for] things to go your way. I am confident that we can compete."

In an attempt to replicate the results they produced on their tour of England last year, South Africa will once again enlist the services of explorer Mike Horn to be with the team while they spend five days in Amsterdam. Even though the team will only have half the time there with Horn, and have to play a warm-up match against the Netherlands on Friday, Kirsten hopes the camp will have a similar effect on the group.

"We will spend the majority of the time doing skills work. It will be important for guys who have played in the IPL to bring match intensity. We will rely on them heavily for that. We will also use the time to get out of the hype of the tournament in the UK," he said. "The significance of the Switzerland journey was the way we were able to pull together as a team. We're looking forward to being together again."

The squad that will assemble in the Netherlands on Monday is a very different unit to the one that beat England in a three-Test series last year. It does not have the same edge of experience, but it does carry great potential. Whether that will bear fruit this time around remains to be seen.

What Kirsten said is that he cannot guarantee it will, and he does not think South Africa cricket will be in crisis if it does not. The room at the hotel will be waiting to bear witness as to whether a less pressurised approach will work this time.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 28, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    As a big fan of S.A. cricket from '93 WC, I want to wish them good luck. Now, to all the Indian Cricket fans, As you have earned a lot of xp from great IPL and the facilities you get from the great Cricket board; Lets see what you can do? But It was ugly when we bring out the match fix things and you must know that Roshan Mahanama Srilanka Cricket Legend already expressed his doubt about the WC final of 2011 which was very technically handled by ICC and Indian C Board..

  • mahjut on May 28, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    I have, since 1999 when i started watching, always enjoyed WCs but as far as dealing with pressure goes ... really only two teams have ever had to seriously deal with it going into a WC; and that is OZ and SA. ...and even then post-'99 SAs 'top billing' was lip-service (they were not as good as Oz in 2003 - nor even 07).

    As for other teams "dealing with pressure" ... well, going in as underdogs and coming out on top is praiseworthy for the fact that the team pulled together as a team (but hardly because they conquered pressure!!!).

    Oz did defeat pressure in '99 & less in '07 , but having recognised their ability to cope with the pressure it must also be said that their team was in an exceptional head-space (with years of winning everything behind them AND with an incredibly balanced side with the big-hitting Gilchrist playing the part of allrounder - which made them the best team in 2003 and kept them in the headspace for 2007 - though by then questions were starting to be asked.

  • mahjut on May 28, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    what matters is not just winning ... of course in an age of instant ejaculation it may appear that way, but i seriously doubt the average supporter hopes their team wins for a decade and disappears for the next two like the WI (even to some extent OZ). India are always there or thereabouts in LO cricket and SA are always there or thereabouts in all forms. I tend to cherish the mace over the cup but it'd be nice to see SA win a WC (or one of these other tournys like this CL or WCT20) but, as an SA supporter, I am not too bothered if they don't if they continue putting out string teams in LO cricket along with being the best Test team (or at least the team to beat in Tests). good luck for the CL Trophy ... hope you don't run into NZ in the knockouts:). Are they even playing in this tourny!?

  • Rbak_SRT on May 28, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    @ Graydon Meneses - agree with you and well said..even I meant it in that way..cant compare both... @ Darkmanx12155 - thanks mate!

  • Rbak_SRT on May 28, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    @ Julie White - Mate y r u bringing Sachin into this..he was, is and will be the best the world has seen...so ur not talking cricket here and only criticizing Indian players right...see first thing is we all love SA and u shd know with the way we treated Gary Kirsten during his tenure...we respect SA players..coming to ur point..in 2003 the only team we lost against was AUS league stage and Final..and Sachin got MOS Sobers award for most runs..that too in ur backyard..SA won just 3 games that too against Ban, Can and Ken and they din even qualify for supers (THAT TOO IN HOME CONDITIONS - swinggg and greennnyy or wateva) LOL...atleast India did..stop talking about Ganguly...he atleast had the courage to form a team after 2000 (SCANDAL) and took it to finals. Same happened with SA (Hansie - Scandal)..u guys got rocked until Smithy took over..we salute u him the same way we do Ganguly...Cric Info please publish..

  • gibbs.175 on May 27, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Thanks....JULIE WHITE....i have same kind of feelings.... i have seen every match ,played by Sa....I pray to god ...bless them this time .....1992.(bad rules)..1996 (bad luck).....(1998great time).... 1999 (so closed).....2003...2007 2011 ....bad selection......now again we have high hopes.....so good luck

  • Darkmanx12155 on May 27, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @ Rbak_SRT - Well said mate..

    @Julie White - What matters is winning mate. If the flat track is good for Dhoni why can't ABD being such a good player, do well? Why couldn't SA win the world cup in the subcontinent in 2011 having such a good batting line up? They didn't even make it to the finals in their own grounds in 2003 mate... But India did... U get a life! Don't compare a GREAT who won two world cups for his country with ABD. Lets see how ABD is going to do with the burden of captaincy on his shoulders.

  • on May 27, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    @Shongololo Ugh. "Einstein's insanity definition" always annoys me. 1) it was not Einstein who said that 2) doing the same thing over and over might be stupid or foolish, but hardly insane 3) saying that SA has "done the same thing over and over - being conservative" is such a vast oversimplification, it suggests you didn't watch any World Cup competitions.

  • on May 27, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    @Rbak, Julie, Darmanx - I don't think you can compare AB and MSD. They are different players, different roles, come in at different times in the order. A stats comparison is meaningless.

    In general - The IPL is a LOT of cricket. Anyone who has played long tournaments will know how difficult it is to keep up personal motivation for such extended lengths. For that reason, I feel India will struggle in this competition.

  • on May 27, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    although i am a die hard fan of saf, i can't see they are winning it. they are hurting me from 1992. and they will never win any international cup.

  • on May 28, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    As a big fan of S.A. cricket from '93 WC, I want to wish them good luck. Now, to all the Indian Cricket fans, As you have earned a lot of xp from great IPL and the facilities you get from the great Cricket board; Lets see what you can do? But It was ugly when we bring out the match fix things and you must know that Roshan Mahanama Srilanka Cricket Legend already expressed his doubt about the WC final of 2011 which was very technically handled by ICC and Indian C Board..

  • mahjut on May 28, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    I have, since 1999 when i started watching, always enjoyed WCs but as far as dealing with pressure goes ... really only two teams have ever had to seriously deal with it going into a WC; and that is OZ and SA. ...and even then post-'99 SAs 'top billing' was lip-service (they were not as good as Oz in 2003 - nor even 07).

    As for other teams "dealing with pressure" ... well, going in as underdogs and coming out on top is praiseworthy for the fact that the team pulled together as a team (but hardly because they conquered pressure!!!).

    Oz did defeat pressure in '99 & less in '07 , but having recognised their ability to cope with the pressure it must also be said that their team was in an exceptional head-space (with years of winning everything behind them AND with an incredibly balanced side with the big-hitting Gilchrist playing the part of allrounder - which made them the best team in 2003 and kept them in the headspace for 2007 - though by then questions were starting to be asked.

  • mahjut on May 28, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    what matters is not just winning ... of course in an age of instant ejaculation it may appear that way, but i seriously doubt the average supporter hopes their team wins for a decade and disappears for the next two like the WI (even to some extent OZ). India are always there or thereabouts in LO cricket and SA are always there or thereabouts in all forms. I tend to cherish the mace over the cup but it'd be nice to see SA win a WC (or one of these other tournys like this CL or WCT20) but, as an SA supporter, I am not too bothered if they don't if they continue putting out string teams in LO cricket along with being the best Test team (or at least the team to beat in Tests). good luck for the CL Trophy ... hope you don't run into NZ in the knockouts:). Are they even playing in this tourny!?

  • Rbak_SRT on May 28, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    @ Graydon Meneses - agree with you and well said..even I meant it in that way..cant compare both... @ Darkmanx12155 - thanks mate!

  • Rbak_SRT on May 28, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    @ Julie White - Mate y r u bringing Sachin into this..he was, is and will be the best the world has seen...so ur not talking cricket here and only criticizing Indian players right...see first thing is we all love SA and u shd know with the way we treated Gary Kirsten during his tenure...we respect SA players..coming to ur point..in 2003 the only team we lost against was AUS league stage and Final..and Sachin got MOS Sobers award for most runs..that too in ur backyard..SA won just 3 games that too against Ban, Can and Ken and they din even qualify for supers (THAT TOO IN HOME CONDITIONS - swinggg and greennnyy or wateva) LOL...atleast India did..stop talking about Ganguly...he atleast had the courage to form a team after 2000 (SCANDAL) and took it to finals. Same happened with SA (Hansie - Scandal)..u guys got rocked until Smithy took over..we salute u him the same way we do Ganguly...Cric Info please publish..

  • gibbs.175 on May 27, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Thanks....JULIE WHITE....i have same kind of feelings.... i have seen every match ,played by Sa....I pray to god ...bless them this time .....1992.(bad rules)..1996 (bad luck).....(1998great time).... 1999 (so closed).....2003...2007 2011 ....bad selection......now again we have high hopes.....so good luck

  • Darkmanx12155 on May 27, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @ Rbak_SRT - Well said mate..

    @Julie White - What matters is winning mate. If the flat track is good for Dhoni why can't ABD being such a good player, do well? Why couldn't SA win the world cup in the subcontinent in 2011 having such a good batting line up? They didn't even make it to the finals in their own grounds in 2003 mate... But India did... U get a life! Don't compare a GREAT who won two world cups for his country with ABD. Lets see how ABD is going to do with the burden of captaincy on his shoulders.

  • on May 27, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    @Shongololo Ugh. "Einstein's insanity definition" always annoys me. 1) it was not Einstein who said that 2) doing the same thing over and over might be stupid or foolish, but hardly insane 3) saying that SA has "done the same thing over and over - being conservative" is such a vast oversimplification, it suggests you didn't watch any World Cup competitions.

  • on May 27, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    @Rbak, Julie, Darmanx - I don't think you can compare AB and MSD. They are different players, different roles, come in at different times in the order. A stats comparison is meaningless.

    In general - The IPL is a LOT of cricket. Anyone who has played long tournaments will know how difficult it is to keep up personal motivation for such extended lengths. For that reason, I feel India will struggle in this competition.

  • on May 27, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    although i am a die hard fan of saf, i can't see they are winning it. they are hurting me from 1992. and they will never win any international cup.

  • latecut_04 on May 27, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    This is definitely a tactical ploy by the shrewd Kirsten.He definitely has his eyes set on CT and does not want Saffa players to feel the pressure and succumb to 'C' word like before.SA have a balanced side and are definitely among the favourites along with Aus and Eng.To all these Indian fans ;do we even know our bowling line up?ie any idea how are we going to send down 50 decent overs.This is England and part timers like Jadeja will be taken to cleaners if at all tried.Looking forward to some batting exploits from the likes of Kohli,Rahane and may be Pujara but nothing else to cheer about right NOW.this is an abject analysis of Indian team as of now.If i am proven wrong and the likes of Umesh,Aswin along with Raina and Dhoni play well and win the trophy we can mark Indain cricket's resurgance.Similar to CT2000 when Zak,Yuvi,Sachin and Co beat Aus and reached finals under Ganguly's captaincy...that was the beginning of a new era in Ind cricket..

  • spot_on on May 27, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Rubbish tournament !!

  • Marktc on May 27, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    I do think a good few of SA's leaving tournaments has been more bad luck than choking. Yes, there have also been some losses due to bad play. But then, many other teams have also lost, but fail to have the stigma of 'chokers attached to them.SA are a good unit, as good as any around. They play well and have lots of experience in English conditions. They may not be favourites, but to count them out before the tournament begins is pretty stupid.

  • mjrvasu on May 27, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    South Africa has top quality players well suited for 50-overs, they are favourites.

  • rahulcricket007 on May 27, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    @ravi kiran . the matches are in english conditions & we all know how good our raina , kohli , rohit , dhoni r against swinging ball . please don't expect anything from india . i will be surprise if they even reach semifinals .

  • on May 27, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    @ Rbak_SRT. so, tendulkar was not a good player before winning 2011 wc?. if that be the case, ganguly is same as steve tikolo?. and you talk about final. in 2003 india went to final by defeating strong kenya.lol. and great gangualy sored 3 100s agains kenya and namibia.

  • AKS286 on May 27, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Teams to look for is India because their top batsmen not having only good average but also excellent Strike rate. Teams which are favourites 1. India, 2. SA, 3. NZ, 4. SL - The dark Horse. Eng can't chase big totals. Really miss Irish team they deserve permanent ODI status. Amla, Ingram, FaF, AB, Miller, Duminy, Ontong, Robin, Steyn, Morkel, Viljoen.

  • ravikiran.bits on May 27, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    all teams look weak. india has a chance since they have batsmen who played recent ipl cricket and are in good form

  • Rbak_SRT on May 27, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    @Julie White: World knows about AB..one of the best among current players, but please stop comparing with Dhoni, his average speaks his persona, he has proved it around the world. If you call it flat track then it should be a cake walk for the likes of Smiths, Amlas, Kallis and ABs..first try to win or even qualify to the finals of a major tournament and then do comparisons and Flat track analysis.

  • deep6321 on May 27, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    the current SA squad is good and has some great quality bowlers and batsmen.But i do not think SA are the favourites or they have much more chances than any other team.We watched SA playing outstanding test cricket in the last one year or so.But in ODI cricket they are not like they are the best.We watched them getting beaten by NZ in SA.If we look closely most of the teams have many new faces in their squads. So I think it will be a good contest to watch .My bet would have been on India if Vinay Kumar and Murali Vijay were not part of the squad.But now we can rule India out.Because I think Vijay is zero against swing and Vinay can make you loose in his 10 over quota. So I would go with England as much better of the all other teams.

  • on May 27, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    @ Darkmanx12155. you made my day mater. Yes Dhoni is better than ab de villiers.but it is only at ipl and flat track. your great dhoni's true class was revealed at 8-0 whitewash. get a life man.

  • maddy20 on May 26, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    @ FredElliot Choking = Different mistakes, but same result(when under fire). As you have noticed, the fear of losing makes resign the game to the opposition in crunch moments. Don't get me wrong, I am a BIG fan of the SA team and I would love to see them win this time around. If you look at England(the only other top team that has never won an ODI Worldcup) they are clueless in ODI cricket. Unlike SA they do not have the players who can shift gears at will(save a few SA imports). SA has everything including players with tons of exp and amazing skills like AB, Kallis, Steyn, Philander etc., but somehow manages to lose. They would thrash any side in one on one encounters but ICC events are a whole different story!

  • Cool_Cricket94 on May 26, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    south africa will be knocked out,compare them with aussies who r no way better than them but still are better than south africa.!!!!

  • on May 26, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    The West Indies will take this trophy in addition to the 20 overs - with Gayle, Powell, Samuels, Sarwan, Chanderpal, Pollard and Bravo in the batting lineup and Bravo, Roach, Narine leading the bowling.

  • Darkmanx12155 on May 26, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    @ TWIC.. I agree with you on one thing mate... Adam Gilchrist was a super W/K batsman. No doubt about that.. People will miss him after this IPL. Dhoni has few more years to better his record. Don't forget that Dhoni is the captain of the team.. Gilly never had that burden on his shoulders so it's always easier for him to perform.

    @ 2nd_Slip ... How many world cups have your so called "Technically perfect" "classy, "plays textbook shot" , "far more reliable" and "consistent than any other keeper/batsman in tests,ODI and T20 cricket in the world at the moment" have won for SA? AB did well as a player. Now he has the burden of captaining his team. Then you can see who is better. MSD's shots may look ugly but who care's mate as long as it gets the job done? MSD will prove it this time too if the two teams meet each other.. MSD has proven his "single handed" match winning skills over and over again mate.

  • on May 26, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    No doubt SL will come to final! And Semi-final is the SA's place no doubt lol!! I would like to SA win the cup. But i know they would never even come to finals!!

  • on May 26, 2013, 15:03 GMT

    Being an Indian I want India and SA to reach in finals and SA lifting the trophy after a close match.

  • TWIC on May 26, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    @Darkmanx12155 -sorry mate but if you can't even recall a fella by the name of Adam Gilchrist then you shouldn't be talking at all. While I agree MS Dhoni is a great limited overs specialist, in terms of sheer skill he is quite lacking. Looking at current ODI W/K batsmen, you cannot compare MSD and ABD, simply because ABD isn't a legitimate W/K batsman, he's an outright batsman who keeps while MSD is simply a slog-fest keeper. Supposing you can compare the two, ABD is far more talented than MSD with a technique that MSD can't come close to, look at both their records for proof, it takes technique to make centuries, it takes a heavy bat to make fifties. Look at tests, ABD and Gilchrist wipe the floor with MSD and this is the format where skill is properly appreciated, averages say that MSD isnt as great as you say he is. One more thing on ODI's, MSD comes in at 6 or 7, ABD comes in at 4 or 5, Gilchrist opens, this accounts for the not outs that make up over a quarter of MSD's innings

  • 2nd_Slip on May 26, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    @Darkmanx12155 For your information I didn't make a mistake, but rather I think you made a mistake. Dhoni is the best ever w/k at playing baseball like shots and slogging nothing else no class nothing. ABD has class, plays textbook shot that you would put in a video compilation to teach up and coming young cricketers how to the best WK/batsman in the world. To add to that ABD is far more reliable and consistent than any other keeper/batsman in tests,ODI and T20 cricket in the world at the moment. Hack!! I would take Matt Prior over Dhoni any day.

  • MENDIS_Forever on May 26, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    "I couldn't tell you we are going to win the event but we will give it our best shot," now you are going to win this mate...

  • Darkmanx12155 on May 26, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    @ Posted by 2nd_Slip on (May 26, 2013, 10:46 GMT) Sorry mate u made a mistake! Worlds Best EVER W/K batsman is none other than the GREAT MS DHONI... ABD can be the second best but not the first!

  • Darkmanx12155 on May 26, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @ THOR12155 on (May 26, 2013, 8:39 GMT) SA to win the 2015 world cup??? U gotta be kidding me mate! Who say's SA is the best in the world? Did u forget that India won the World cup in 2011? India is winning this title people.... SA dont stand a chance against MS Dhoni, Kolhi, Raina + the rest... They have a good bowling line up too..

  • 2nd_Slip on May 26, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @ThilankaK that's a flawed assessment in my opinion comparing a team of international quality players to a team of little kown T20 players is just a joke. SA are nothing like Pune Warriors, they are way better than that. And I think the fact that SA has a team that is not like the predictable stable team sent to previous tournaments (with out two of its most experienced campaigners Graeme and Kallis) and has an air of unpredictability makes them a team to watch out for(after all they have the worlds best Bowler-Steyn ,Batsman-Amla and WK/Batsman-de Villiers)

  • Crick.lover on May 26, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    And tell us all @Shavantha Weerasinghe, what have you ever had the guts to go beyond? Have you ever made a national team for anything?

  • Gregg22 on May 26, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Personally i don't think the loss of Smith will negatively affect the batting line up. He hasn't been performing in ODI cricket for a good 2-3 seasons now. Kallis is a different story though.

  • on May 26, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    this could well be a blessing in disguise for south africa... after being tagged chokers despite possessing high profile squads in the past, this might just be the right balance between performance and reputation for them... steyn will be fired up after a great ipl season... morkel and co need to support him well though... peterson can be the lone spinner when required... amla, de villiers, faf du plessis, duminy and alviro peterson are very much capable of carrying the batting responsibilities... so i feel that having a low profile entry into this tournament might well win them the trophy..

  • THOR7 on May 26, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    I firmly believe this time SA will break the "choke" code and win the title... They have the best fast bowler in Dale Steyn, Best ever ODI batsman in Amla, Second Best W/K batsman in ABD, (First being MSD) and good younger players like Faf, Miller etc. who can make an impact.. only thing they lack is a solid all-rounder like Kallis.. But they are the best team ahead of Aussies and England. So this can be SA's first major trophy and if they win this title, they will go on to win the World Cup in 2015...

  • safzulu62 on May 26, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    To become champions you need the heart, the hunger, and the will of a championship team. Something South Africa have never had in the shorter forms of the game. In the test arena this is a quality they have shown for a while now, hopefully they can adapt it to the ODI format.

  • on May 26, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    South Africa produce excellent cricket in knockout stages and fizzle out in the quarters/semis.

  • FredElliot on May 26, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    Shavantha Weerasinghe you are 100% wrong. South Africa went beyond the semis in this tournament in 1998 and then won it.

  • ThilankaK on May 26, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    SA can't win any international trophy because they're like Pune Warriors India , too much all rounders , all are good individual players but NO TEAM WORK !!!

  • on May 26, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Oh this man is so very smart! Hes just taken all the pressure and expectations of the team. He can hide behind the fact that Smith and Kallis wont be there. Hes deliberately and skillfully removed any expectations of SA winning and as such given them the best chance, taking the weight of the chokers tag from their shoulders. If it works and SA win this (and they still can) he will have a reputation as a coach second to none. In a way its fortunate for Sa that hes leaving now though - they may get a real coach at the helm... which means their cricket wont stagnate as much from Kirstens non - coaching methods that worked so well with the experienced Indian outfit (and intimidatory board) and still works so well with the equally experienced and ultra talented SA one.

  • on May 26, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    SA never had the guts and never will have the guts to go beyond semis

  • FredElliot on May 26, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    DeckChairand6pack, I am a SA fan and I am going to deny it. I would argue that only the 2011 World Cup defeat was a choke. In 1996 and 2007 SA were beaten by better teams. 2003 was incompetence. 1992 was bad luck. I would even say that 1999 was not a choke. Calamatous run outs occur all the time in cricket. If you watch that final over again, you will see that during the ball before the run out, Donald was backing up way too far and only managed to get back in time. Then he was so concerned with not doing it again that he didnt notice Klusener was half way down the pitch until it was too late. Journalists and cricket commentator like to have a one size fits all label that they can use - in this case "chokers" - because it makes their lives easier. Then they keep repeating it over and over again until in 2011 it became a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • morgie1982 on May 26, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    SA always send best team and likely champs bt somehow they mange a way to get knocked-out from series shame on them..................although i hope they will hv extended run in this competition

  • DeckChairand6pack on May 26, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    I don't think any SA fan denies that we have choked in the past. Our ODI team is not conservative either, our team for India in 2012 was packed with invention. Look, sport is littered with examples of outstanding teams that battled to win. It's just a matter of time, we will set the record straight soon. And when we do, beware everyone else. We will need a venter trail to bring home all our trophies. I'm behind Gary and the Green Machine 100%, come on Proteas!

  • on May 26, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    they are the champions right now they will make it i am sure

  • maddy20 on May 26, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    SA start as favorites in any major ICC tournament and end up as the under-achievers when the tournament is over. However yet again they start as favorites. Its a circle of life kinda thing!

  • on May 26, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    I would love to see SA wining this tournament they deserve and they have the fire power , yes iam a Srilankan but i do agree we dont have much of a chance , but still have faith in our youngsters and hope to see them put up a good show, Styne iam waiting to see you swing the ball both ways, man you are a pleasure to watch , i felt really bad when SLC cancelled the planned test serious with SA for the useless SLPL , if not it would have been a delight to watch you in SL playing test cricket .....

  • on May 26, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    GOOD news for me@typical indian and aussie cricket fan.......

  • on May 26, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @vuv-viru- disagree completely. In 1970's there were about 7 Test Playing nations and now there is about 10, and even among those three with test status, only sri lanka have competed well in global stage. So not much has changed globally. Also kerry packer and IPL has increased money made by businessmen due to international viewership, but in places like America cricket ceases to exist. Infact even IPL is not even telecasted on TV, unless it is an indian TV channel.

  • MH19 on May 26, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan and my pick for the 4 Semi finalist for the champions trophy will be England,Pakistan,Australia,South Africa

  • Humdingers on May 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    @Stark62, @Kapil Kumar - SA have "always" had the strongest team on paper, on form leading to any major competition - but what have they go to show for it? They are CHOKERS - much like Sri Lanka are. Always do well leading to a tournament to fail at the final hurdle(s). Clearly a mental weakness - which needs to be accepted and then to move on from there.

  • Shongololo on May 25, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    Hardly a masterstroke Virgil. The long-suffering South African cricket fans have seriously limited expectations of our team at events such as this. Zilch to do with Gary's words. And it will be 'same old, same old' because we continue to play conservative cricket at these events, our selection policy remains flawed, we're veritable rabbits in the headlights...wasn't it Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome???

  • Mayan820 on May 25, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I agree Mr. Slade. Gary Kirsten is very clever. By downplaying his team's chances somewhat he has left the door wide open for the Proteas to play outside themselves in England and bring the silverware home this time around. Even though they are less experienced than previous teams, this is truly a South African dream team that have the ability to win this tournament.

  • on May 25, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    RSA!! Are superb team. There is no need for them to worry and with little composure RSA can win CL.

  • Stark62 on May 25, 2013, 19:38 GMT

    His just trying to alleviate the pressure mounted on SA, as the favourites!!

    We all know, SA have the strongest squad and the best chance to win the CT, out of all the 8 nations, plus the conditions in Eng are tailor-made for SA with the likes of Amla, DeVelliers, Steyn, Faf, Morne etc.

  • Viv-Viru on May 25, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Fans of cricket need to think of increasing its share in the overall global arena of other sports. Kerry Packer, ODI, Hawk-Eye, T20, and IPL have all enabled cricket to have a fighting chance of competing for global entertainment and advertising dollars. Definitely need more marketing for Champions Trophy where some fans don't even seem to know if it is a T20 to ODI tournament.

  • on May 25, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    Kirsten has played a masterstroke. He has limited the expectations of the public but made clear that there is an expectation of professionalism from the players. Make copious notes please Mr. Domingo

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 25, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Honestly, this is a meaningless tournament. I only like the ICC World Cup for the 50 overs format. Even the World T20 must be scrapped. T20 is good for domestic leagues, clubs and franchises and has no place in international cricket. So I hope this is the LAST Champions Trophy tournament ever. It's a useless competition with an irrelevant history, most of which even I don't remember. Given how many times SA have choked in previous attempts, I am not surprised one bit at Kirsten's answer to the press.

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  • Cpt.Meanster on May 25, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Honestly, this is a meaningless tournament. I only like the ICC World Cup for the 50 overs format. Even the World T20 must be scrapped. T20 is good for domestic leagues, clubs and franchises and has no place in international cricket. So I hope this is the LAST Champions Trophy tournament ever. It's a useless competition with an irrelevant history, most of which even I don't remember. Given how many times SA have choked in previous attempts, I am not surprised one bit at Kirsten's answer to the press.

  • on May 25, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    Kirsten has played a masterstroke. He has limited the expectations of the public but made clear that there is an expectation of professionalism from the players. Make copious notes please Mr. Domingo

  • Viv-Viru on May 25, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Fans of cricket need to think of increasing its share in the overall global arena of other sports. Kerry Packer, ODI, Hawk-Eye, T20, and IPL have all enabled cricket to have a fighting chance of competing for global entertainment and advertising dollars. Definitely need more marketing for Champions Trophy where some fans don't even seem to know if it is a T20 to ODI tournament.

  • Stark62 on May 25, 2013, 19:38 GMT

    His just trying to alleviate the pressure mounted on SA, as the favourites!!

    We all know, SA have the strongest squad and the best chance to win the CT, out of all the 8 nations, plus the conditions in Eng are tailor-made for SA with the likes of Amla, DeVelliers, Steyn, Faf, Morne etc.

  • on May 25, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    RSA!! Are superb team. There is no need for them to worry and with little composure RSA can win CL.

  • Mayan820 on May 25, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I agree Mr. Slade. Gary Kirsten is very clever. By downplaying his team's chances somewhat he has left the door wide open for the Proteas to play outside themselves in England and bring the silverware home this time around. Even though they are less experienced than previous teams, this is truly a South African dream team that have the ability to win this tournament.

  • Shongololo on May 25, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    Hardly a masterstroke Virgil. The long-suffering South African cricket fans have seriously limited expectations of our team at events such as this. Zilch to do with Gary's words. And it will be 'same old, same old' because we continue to play conservative cricket at these events, our selection policy remains flawed, we're veritable rabbits in the headlights...wasn't it Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome???

  • Humdingers on May 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    @Stark62, @Kapil Kumar - SA have "always" had the strongest team on paper, on form leading to any major competition - but what have they go to show for it? They are CHOKERS - much like Sri Lanka are. Always do well leading to a tournament to fail at the final hurdle(s). Clearly a mental weakness - which needs to be accepted and then to move on from there.

  • MH19 on May 26, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan and my pick for the 4 Semi finalist for the champions trophy will be England,Pakistan,Australia,South Africa

  • on May 26, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @vuv-viru- disagree completely. In 1970's there were about 7 Test Playing nations and now there is about 10, and even among those three with test status, only sri lanka have competed well in global stage. So not much has changed globally. Also kerry packer and IPL has increased money made by businessmen due to international viewership, but in places like America cricket ceases to exist. Infact even IPL is not even telecasted on TV, unless it is an indian TV channel.