June 21, 2013

Get South Africa a think tank

With the next World Cup less than two years away, it's important to look at what's causing their one-day cricket dysfunction
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Incoming South Africa coach Russell Domingo could do a whole lot worse than suggest a major think tank on where the national team's limited-overs game is going. It has been drifting uncertainly for some time, almost at the mercy of the tides. Will it eventually end up on Treasure Island or simply stuck in quicksand at some murky estuary?

The situation is little changed following South Africa's depressingly comprehensive semi-final exit from the Champions Trophy at the hands of England on a muggy Jimmy Anderson heaven Wednesday at The Oval.

Should we be shocked, surprised, angered even?

Take your pick, but in the final analysis I suggest South Africa did no more, no less, than deliver a par performance on current reputation, sneaking into the last four and then going no further - entirely in line with their world ODI ranking of a humdrum fourth.

Why, a generous argument might even be that AB de Villiers' up-and-down outfit did pretty well to get to where they did, given the not exactly trivial absence of such broad-shouldered figures as Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and, for the inconvenient bulk of the tournament, senior strike-bowling factors Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

Yet the burning question remains: how come our one-day sides (for what it is worth, South Africa are ranked sixth in the T20 format) seem so glaringly less able to take the big step up to global supremacy in the manner in which the Test team so stirringly has?

Perhaps, then, the answer is best sought by bringing together a collection of the brightest and most high-powered cricketing minds in the country to not only take stock of the present inertia but also strategise on a way ahead, taking into account such things as existing and potential new personnel, exactly which stalwart players are genuinely hungry to extend their one-day careers (an important, hot-potato topic, with another World Cup well less than two years away) and which series or tournaments to prioritise in a sardine-can calendar landscape that doesn't mean you can go hell-for-leather all the time.

Coaches (ideally including the now-departed Gary Kirsten, who never had enough time in his curtailed tenure to truly get to grips with the rather painstakingly evolving one-day side), senior players, ex-players, selectors, commentators, some administrators and stakeholders... widespread counsel might well be very beneficial.

In certain respects a changing of the coaching guard brings automatic new hope, although as Domingo is a disciple of Kirsten's and has already said he does not plan to shake the bag to too radical an extent - something that probably comes as a relief in Test terms - there are no guarantees of a quick Midas touch as far as the "instant" game is concerned.

The big problem at the Champions Trophy was that too many clearly proven South Africa players performed moderately rather than sublimely. Absenteeism of normally core customers simply cannot be pooh-poohed

Let's get one thing out of the way: contrary to Kirsten's reportedly generous, self-incriminating and overly humble post-match view that they did, South Africa didn't choke, I would firmly counter, at The Oval.

By definition choking generally means in sport that you frittered away a promising position - and from a swiftly back-foot 4 for 2 and then quite disastrous 80 for 8 after being ordered to the crease in initially challenging but hardly unplayable conditions, South Africa, if anything, only clawed their way back into the contest to some extent after a more serious humiliation had stared them uncomfortably in the face.

If you are going to join the popular, inevitable and eternally fashionable "they choked" lobby, then perhaps you should try slapping the accusation first on the foreheads of such characters as David Miller and the oft-maligned Rory Kleinveldt, who did exceptionally well to post 95 runs for the ninth wicket in 16 overs to greatly delay the crashing sound of the guillotine.

Of course, there can be no denying that the supposed cream of the Proteas batsmen committed indigestible mass suicide on the day, with de Villiers getting out to a particularly wretched choice of stroke given the adverse situation so fast swelling around him. But we also know that he is an undisputed class act, across all formats - there are plenty like him in the current team, which just makes a day like Wednesday so very hard to fathom.

Sweeping changes? That will be the vociferous call by many, you can be sure, but as much as such an unforgiving approach is understandable in the immediate aftermath of another ICC tournament bomb-out by South Africa, you also require cool heads to have their still-important say.

The big problem at the Champions Trophy, really, was that too many clearly proven South Africa players performed moderately rather than sublimely, while absenteeism of normally core customers simply cannot be pooh-poohed as a factor in the elimination.

One source of hope is that no single nation presently dominates the ODI landscape to a clearly identifiable degree, and that sometimes perseverance and patience suddenly pay off in this particular arena with the agreeable snap of two fingers.

In a sea of relative ordinariness, South Africa actually aren't too far from getting it all right.

Some random immediate personal thoughts are that by not playing in the latest tournament, the selection credentials of batsmen like Farhaan Behardien, Alviro Petersen and Quinton de Kock may only have been enhanced, while the name "Vernon Philander" is sure to at least go back under the ODI microscope from a bowling point of view.

South Africa next travel to Sri Lanka, not always their happiest of hunting grounds, for five tricky ODIs and three T20s in late July. Whether it's a major pow-wow or simply another ordinary selection meeting, expect the boardroom doors to be closed for some time ahead of the trip.

Robert Houwing is chief writer for Sport24.co.za in South Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on June 24, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Hi SA fans .....we should make some changes for Sri Lanka tour.......call youngsters ,so that seniors feel little more responsibilities ,so call perfect WK ,SPINNER..........like team member D.KOCK. 2 LEVI. 3AMLA. 4. AB 5. ELGAAR 5 MILLER. 6. FARHAAN ( Hitter/finisher) 7.MORRIS. 8 KYLE ABBOTT 9. LENGE 10.SOBE. 11' PHANGISO/spinner /BIRCH. ......or ROSOW,JENNING,ZYL,PHILLANDER..........minimum this team should play next all t-20 international matches. ...good luck

  • Kirstenfan on June 23, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    A think tank implies that people with brains are asked to provide ideas - clearly thus us not the case in SA as: - South Africa plays far less cricket than any of the other major teams, across all formats http://www.espncricinfo.com/rankings/content/current/page/211271.html - South Africa has reckless and incorrect decision making across all aspects of the team, especially batting - see how many recent run outs, and AB opening with Duminy multiple times, batting himself down the order vs England, batting Robin Peterson up the order and opening with Ingram instead of Alviro - it is completely unjustifiable that these decisions have been allowed to be made

    Basically, AB is a great sportsman but utterly wrong as a leader, free him up and make someone like Alviro captain, but please not Duminy who can play neither off spin nor pace and who is the ultimate choker himself

  • on June 23, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    I really dont think this latest failure has anything to do with the choking at major competitions that has plagued SA cricket in the past. This is a new team, and if you look at past ODI bilateral series , they have used it to rest Test players and blood some young/new players. Ingram, Behardien , McLaren, Miller have what it takes to succeed. They were far from their best in the semi-final but this SA team was one one weakest teams heading into the tournament.

    I will reserve my judgement on team come 2015 WC. The guys should have had enough experience and cross the final hurdle

  • on June 22, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    A underlying problem is still the quota selection. As an outsider i understand this is touchy subject. But i'm not sure if in a full-strength ODI team Tsotsobe really deserves to be a squad regular over some better white/coloured players like Chris Morris. Phangiso is ok, but is he really a better all-round left-arm spinner than Roloef Van Der Merwe?. I think not

    Wayne Parnell has been crap, yet he is always in around the squad. S Africa have the talent the translate their test dominance to the limited overs game quite easily. But their best XI/Squad because of quotas tends to deny this.

  • stormy16 on June 22, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    This was a "win toss win game" wicket which when produced in other parts of the world draw a volley of criticism from all and sundry. However such a wicket in Eng where Eng win - the finger points at SA chokers. There could be no worse scenario to play England than morning swing, Eng bowl and knocks off the top order, sun comes out, batting conditions ease out, Eng win. As for SA yes I still think there are issues despite the unfair conditions. Both Amla and AB played uncharacteristic shots as if they wanted to 'choke'! Really not sure what the issue is with SA but its certainly not talent.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @ GermanPlayer. In 2003 Boucher was given the wrong information. If SA were ahead on D/L, as he believed, risking his wicket would have been the WORST thing he could have done. That is EXACTLY what Pollard did, and WI lost.

    Boucher was one of the best finishers SA ever had. He did not lose his cool. SA would not have lost to NZ in 2011 if Boucher was batting. But, he was left behind.

    Claiming that Kallis has no record in crucial games displays a disturbing lack of knowledge on your part. In the 1st Champions Trophy, Kallis won 2 Player of the match awards & Player of the series. He is STILL the only player to score a century & take a five for in the tournament. Notably, SA WON that tournament….or rather Kallis won it for SA.

    You have shown little knowledge or understanding of SA's ODI team history. (It is the ODI team with the highest win/loss ratio. When you know as little as you evidently do, perhaps you should avoid making transparently ill informed judgements.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    @ Xolile. Levi was found out as soon as he played IPL. He was eaten alive. What has changed? Faf prospered in the IPL, as an opener, but Levi tanked.

    About Behardien I agree. Botha was a great captain, & was wasted by SA. South Australia are very happy with him!

    Alviro was a good replacement for the Champion's Trophy. He absolutely should have opened in the England game, and could have not done any worse than Ingram. Youth is a great concept - until they fall apart. Alviro has faced England, & Anderson, in England. He would not have been clueless, like Ingram was, thrown into the lion's den.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Tony Knott. I agree with your analysis of AB's captaincy. He simply has not shown the acumen to continue in the position, Not all great players make great skippers, & not all great skippers are great players.

    Why Alviro, who has faced Anderson, with Amla, was ignored & the inexperienced Ingram sent in to open in unfamiliar conditions is beyond a mystery, its a travesty.

    Kallis is by far the most experienced, and best, player SA has ever had. If he says he does not feel that he is able to effectively compete - his reason for withdrawing - he should be believed. The man has given his all to SA. He is not dictating, he is being honest, & diligent. Face it, honesty & diligence are his trademark!

    The board is the last group who should make player decisions. Until they can prove that they are competent, unlikre their predecessors, the players deserve better.The Proteas success has been in spite of, not because of CSA

  • legfinedeep on June 22, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I agree with BZZD - the whole tournament is a farce when the toss essentially dictates who will win a game. Why is no one saying SL choked as well, since they capitulated under the same circumstances. No one will say it because all the South-Asians here who follow cricket (and let's face it, they are the dominant group), tend to prefer to reserve the chokers tag for SA. Go back to the match reports of the semi-final and count and ctrl+F how many times the word "choke" is found in the first semi vs the second semi. SA and SL both lost the match because they lost the toss. That's it. Put Steyn, Philander and Morkel in to bowl first under those conditions, and Eng would have struggled to make 100. I am not a fan of matches that are won on tosses entirely. At least in a Test you get a chance to make up an unfair toss advantage, in an ODI you never do.

  • BokkeForever on June 22, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    I think CSA's poor treatment of Johan Botha is coming home to roost. Never understood how they could let a player of his quality slip through the system. Rightly enough he said " enough is enough" and backed his bags and headed for Australia after being overlooked once too often. Not only is he SA's best spinner, but he would be the first choice to captain the ODI side. He's tactically smart and should've been given the job in place of AB. AB is a great player, but I think his leadership qualities have been shown up. Come on CSA, get your act together. How many more players do we have to loose to other countries!!

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on June 24, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Hi SA fans .....we should make some changes for Sri Lanka tour.......call youngsters ,so that seniors feel little more responsibilities ,so call perfect WK ,SPINNER..........like team member D.KOCK. 2 LEVI. 3AMLA. 4. AB 5. ELGAAR 5 MILLER. 6. FARHAAN ( Hitter/finisher) 7.MORRIS. 8 KYLE ABBOTT 9. LENGE 10.SOBE. 11' PHANGISO/spinner /BIRCH. ......or ROSOW,JENNING,ZYL,PHILLANDER..........minimum this team should play next all t-20 international matches. ...good luck

  • Kirstenfan on June 23, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    A think tank implies that people with brains are asked to provide ideas - clearly thus us not the case in SA as: - South Africa plays far less cricket than any of the other major teams, across all formats http://www.espncricinfo.com/rankings/content/current/page/211271.html - South Africa has reckless and incorrect decision making across all aspects of the team, especially batting - see how many recent run outs, and AB opening with Duminy multiple times, batting himself down the order vs England, batting Robin Peterson up the order and opening with Ingram instead of Alviro - it is completely unjustifiable that these decisions have been allowed to be made

    Basically, AB is a great sportsman but utterly wrong as a leader, free him up and make someone like Alviro captain, but please not Duminy who can play neither off spin nor pace and who is the ultimate choker himself

  • on June 23, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    I really dont think this latest failure has anything to do with the choking at major competitions that has plagued SA cricket in the past. This is a new team, and if you look at past ODI bilateral series , they have used it to rest Test players and blood some young/new players. Ingram, Behardien , McLaren, Miller have what it takes to succeed. They were far from their best in the semi-final but this SA team was one one weakest teams heading into the tournament.

    I will reserve my judgement on team come 2015 WC. The guys should have had enough experience and cross the final hurdle

  • on June 22, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    A underlying problem is still the quota selection. As an outsider i understand this is touchy subject. But i'm not sure if in a full-strength ODI team Tsotsobe really deserves to be a squad regular over some better white/coloured players like Chris Morris. Phangiso is ok, but is he really a better all-round left-arm spinner than Roloef Van Der Merwe?. I think not

    Wayne Parnell has been crap, yet he is always in around the squad. S Africa have the talent the translate their test dominance to the limited overs game quite easily. But their best XI/Squad because of quotas tends to deny this.

  • stormy16 on June 22, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    This was a "win toss win game" wicket which when produced in other parts of the world draw a volley of criticism from all and sundry. However such a wicket in Eng where Eng win - the finger points at SA chokers. There could be no worse scenario to play England than morning swing, Eng bowl and knocks off the top order, sun comes out, batting conditions ease out, Eng win. As for SA yes I still think there are issues despite the unfair conditions. Both Amla and AB played uncharacteristic shots as if they wanted to 'choke'! Really not sure what the issue is with SA but its certainly not talent.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @ GermanPlayer. In 2003 Boucher was given the wrong information. If SA were ahead on D/L, as he believed, risking his wicket would have been the WORST thing he could have done. That is EXACTLY what Pollard did, and WI lost.

    Boucher was one of the best finishers SA ever had. He did not lose his cool. SA would not have lost to NZ in 2011 if Boucher was batting. But, he was left behind.

    Claiming that Kallis has no record in crucial games displays a disturbing lack of knowledge on your part. In the 1st Champions Trophy, Kallis won 2 Player of the match awards & Player of the series. He is STILL the only player to score a century & take a five for in the tournament. Notably, SA WON that tournament….or rather Kallis won it for SA.

    You have shown little knowledge or understanding of SA's ODI team history. (It is the ODI team with the highest win/loss ratio. When you know as little as you evidently do, perhaps you should avoid making transparently ill informed judgements.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    @ Xolile. Levi was found out as soon as he played IPL. He was eaten alive. What has changed? Faf prospered in the IPL, as an opener, but Levi tanked.

    About Behardien I agree. Botha was a great captain, & was wasted by SA. South Australia are very happy with him!

    Alviro was a good replacement for the Champion's Trophy. He absolutely should have opened in the England game, and could have not done any worse than Ingram. Youth is a great concept - until they fall apart. Alviro has faced England, & Anderson, in England. He would not have been clueless, like Ingram was, thrown into the lion's den.

  • Greatest_Game on June 22, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Tony Knott. I agree with your analysis of AB's captaincy. He simply has not shown the acumen to continue in the position, Not all great players make great skippers, & not all great skippers are great players.

    Why Alviro, who has faced Anderson, with Amla, was ignored & the inexperienced Ingram sent in to open in unfamiliar conditions is beyond a mystery, its a travesty.

    Kallis is by far the most experienced, and best, player SA has ever had. If he says he does not feel that he is able to effectively compete - his reason for withdrawing - he should be believed. The man has given his all to SA. He is not dictating, he is being honest, & diligent. Face it, honesty & diligence are his trademark!

    The board is the last group who should make player decisions. Until they can prove that they are competent, unlikre their predecessors, the players deserve better.The Proteas success has been in spite of, not because of CSA

  • legfinedeep on June 22, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I agree with BZZD - the whole tournament is a farce when the toss essentially dictates who will win a game. Why is no one saying SL choked as well, since they capitulated under the same circumstances. No one will say it because all the South-Asians here who follow cricket (and let's face it, they are the dominant group), tend to prefer to reserve the chokers tag for SA. Go back to the match reports of the semi-final and count and ctrl+F how many times the word "choke" is found in the first semi vs the second semi. SA and SL both lost the match because they lost the toss. That's it. Put Steyn, Philander and Morkel in to bowl first under those conditions, and Eng would have struggled to make 100. I am not a fan of matches that are won on tosses entirely. At least in a Test you get a chance to make up an unfair toss advantage, in an ODI you never do.

  • BokkeForever on June 22, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    I think CSA's poor treatment of Johan Botha is coming home to roost. Never understood how they could let a player of his quality slip through the system. Rightly enough he said " enough is enough" and backed his bags and headed for Australia after being overlooked once too often. Not only is he SA's best spinner, but he would be the first choice to captain the ODI side. He's tactically smart and should've been given the job in place of AB. AB is a great player, but I think his leadership qualities have been shown up. Come on CSA, get your act together. How many more players do we have to loose to other countries!!

  • on June 21, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    South Africa are on the decline in this form of the game - series loss to NZ at home and then, as you say, fortunate to make the semis here.

  • on June 21, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    I agree with dpeerwani about the instinct.Yes, RSA lacks the killer one.I do study a lot about cricket stats & watch closely most of the international matches of RSA whether it is ODI, T20 or Test & I do follow other teams also. Now, what I have tried to rectify some problems in odi and t20 for SA.1. S.A. lacks of the killer instinct in big matches of any tournament 2. The main problem is SA lack of fire power in bowling & batting!! Though they got Steyn & Morkel in side & Amla , AB, Kallis but still they need to produce bowlers & batsmen who can really do damage in big matches. You all must have heard the term known Big Match Player & if you watch Jayawardhene who is known as big match player or MS Dhoni or Ricky Ponting; They all are in that category. Even Sachin Tendulakar is not a Big match player. If we can produce two of this category, Trust me; The whole situation will be changed & You might find next World Cup Trophy in South Africa. RSA Cricket Fan Forever

  • on June 21, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    South Africa have quite a few world class ODI players but they, as usual, have failed to perform in a major tournament. But unlike the last World Cup where they excelled in the group stage and then lost a Q/F match, they performed rather poorly this time. Injuries of Steyn and M Morkel and the absences of Smith and Kallis surely hurt them, but they still had the likes of AB, Amla and Duminy along with a bunch of promising players in the side. They seriously need to think of the One-Day team before the World Cup. The top order needs to be more consistent and the bowlers need to keep the runs down in limited-overs cricket. SA should stop experimenting with the team as well.

  • dil1986 on June 21, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Smith, Amla, Ingram, Kallis, Devilliers, Duminy, Miller, Mclaren/Filander/Morris, Robie, Steyn, M.Morkel, De Cock, Behardien will be the ideal squad for the ODI series in Sri Lanka. and i think its time to bring in De cock as the wicket keeper which will help AB a lot more to concentrate on his batting.

  • dpeerwani on June 21, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    I think South Africa lack the killer instinct that it takes to win such tournaments. We all love to hate the brash attitude of the Australian side (at least the unit that made the World Cup impossible to win) but it is the same attitude that made them perform in crunch games.

    Few would argue that South Africa is not the most technically correctly managed team in the World. But sometimes you have to step in the field with the ferocity of a Kohli or the unconventional skill of a Muhammad Ali to succeed.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on June 21, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    I commented before the start of the tournament that SA is only an 'at their best good , but nothing exceptional side' , and many SA fans gave me the stick for it , but they proved again they are an ordinary one day side , its just that SA seems to unable to play some simple street smart cricket , they come with some preset plans and simply keep trying to follow it whether its working or not. against England they failed to judge what would be a good total on the pitch , against India they were overdoing the short ball tactic. but good thing for SA is they have the right ingredients in terms of bowlers and batsmen , just have to find the right approach

  • on June 21, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    I remember at the start of the match, it showed how many ODIs each SA batsmen (and bowler) had played. And you just see the immense experience Duminy, Amla and DeVilliers have. But for a team to be successful, the big players need to perform on the big days. Its the exact opposite of what happened.

    I am disappointed, but even though Duminy, Ingram, DeVilliers and Amla failed miserably on the day, they are still the most technical and skilled batsmen SA has to offer (esp. w/ Kallis' retirement looming). Conditions played a part, and we all know with Steyn and Morkel in the lineup, and the coin toss going the other way, it could have looked 100% different (not an excuse for the poor performance, but the main reason NOT to do a major overhaul).

  • dil1986 on June 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    SA players mindset has to be changed if they want to succeed in a major tournament.they should go in to the field with the positive approach that we are gonna win this match. im sure they went out with lots of fear and preasure in their mind. if they are not going to change this, im afraid that they will succeed in a major tournament in near future. and please no more too many experiments when you are few matches away from entering a major tournemant. i hope everything goes well with the new coach taking his duty.

  • Robster1 on June 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    In any absence of Smith and Kallis, SA need an enforcer like KIrsten himself or as England used to have in Collingwood or Australia with Waugh. And add in the missing Morkel and Steyn and the side looks much stronger. IMHO Smith should lead the side through to the 2015 World Cup. Kleinveldt is not international class. Abbott, Levi, de Kock and Philander all need looking at.

  • sidd198723 on June 21, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    The result is shocking to be honest. No doubt Anderson was on his peak during the semi finals but still i feel South Africa kinda thrown it away.AB who is unstoppable when gets going got out with a rash shot. That shot is definitely a not a shot of a top order batsman.Kallis and Smith will definitely bring some stability in their top order.But still South Africa needs to change it's attitude in high profile matches. I mean c'mon you got Miller at no 7 what more can you ask?The problem is definitely not with skills. It's all in the mind. Ingram still needs to work on technique against moving ball.Duminy another classy batsman who often fails in these games.Kallis deserves a WC win under his belt like SRT did. He is the Best batting all rounder in cricket since Sobers .The best possible SA XI - would be- Smith,Amla,Kallis,Du Plessesis,AB,Duminy,Miller,Peterson,Sten,Morkel,Tsotsobe SMith,Amla,Kallis,AB, Du Plessesis,Duminy,Miller,Peterson,

  • on June 21, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    Sorry mate, this was a choke. A choke doesn't necessarily mean frittering away a promising position. A choke could also mean coming into a game having a very good chance of winning (which, let's face it, almost every South African ODI side over the past 20 years has had), and choking on the day, not being able to deliver to your true potential. If anything, I thought the bowlers were tidy, but without their best 4 bowlers (Steyn, Morkel, Kallis and Botha, who I know has now retired), they were always going to struggle to defend a meager total such as 175. SA's strength in this tournament was batting, and the big guns all failed on the day - Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy.

  • Inducker on June 21, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    More thoughts on SA batmen. Don't risk losing Amla early by opening with him. Tell Kallis his run rate doesn't matter as long as he concentrates more on rotating the strike instead of hitting great drives straight to fielders. Tell Smith that he must be more aware of how he is doing. I can usually sense when he is going to get out with a rash shot several balls before he does. Tell Ingram to get ones rather than flash early on. Tell FAF he must concentrate more on getting his batting going again rather than writing columns. Tell de Villiers to just concentrate on staying in for the first 20 balls - if he stays in he'll easily make up the rate. Leave Miller he is doing OK. Get Berhardien into the team again perhaps a little higher up the order to get some more batting time. Use a test opener like Petersen when the conditions call for it. Tell all the all rounders they must be expected to average 25+ and all the bowlers 15+.

  • on June 21, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    I think they just employ the wrong tactics. In the Last world cup when it appeared they lost their cool against New Zealand, when actually they simply had too many inexperienced players batting low down in sluggish sub-continent conditions which as it turned out was a key phase of the game in those conditions. The famous 99 World Cup Klusener should have batter higher up to make an impact, this current tournament they should have seen off the first 20 overs and batted like Trott. No, not choked, poor tactics. Thats all.

  • Vkarthik on June 21, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Just watch all the videos of Australia's performance in world cup finals and semi finals. How they take the opposition by scruff of their neck. There is no dilly dallying, poking, prodding. They just go out there and hunt the opposition like a pack of hungry wolves. You guys catch cold feet moment when there is slight pressure. Funny that SA is very good in absorbing pressure in 4th innings chases of Tests. May be because a Test match doesn't create pressure as much as a multi national tournament. Deal with the pressure you deal with this problem. Raw aggression is the key to success in world events like world cup.

  • __PK on June 21, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    "how come our one-day sides (for what it is worth, South Africa are ranked sixth in the T20 format) seem so glaringly less able to take the big step up to global supremacy in the manner in which the Test team so stirringly has?" The answer is obvious. Because your Test team doesn't have to play knockout tournaments. If they did, they'd choke at them and be ranked a humdrum 4th, too, and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  • bzzd on June 21, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    I think people are missing the point that bowling first was crucial in this game (as it was in the India SL game). If Steyn had been fit and England had batted first, I think the result would have been reversed. That being said, there was some pretty poor shot selection from some of the batsmen.

    I predict that if conditions are like they have been for the past couple of weeks, the side fielding first will win on Sunday. Both India and England have the bowlers to exploit the swinging conditions.

    I don't think they choked in this particular game. If they had the A team (including Kallis, Smith, Steyn, Philander) they would be awesome - not forgetting Morkel.

  • GermanPlayer on June 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    I am surprised at people saying Levi, DeKock or Philander should have been in the side. SA son't lose the games because they have a weak bowling or batting department. They lose because they mess it up everytime they play a big game in a big tournament. Take a look at the 99 World Cup team, at the 2003 World Cup team, and at teams that have played previous champions trophies. SA always had good enough teams. They just lost it at crucial times.

    I think what they need are players who can perform under pressure. We all know players like Pollock, Kallis, Morkel, Amlaand AB have been phenomenalcricketers. But what is their record in crucial games? Not worth mentioning. That is the problem.SA don't need players who can play well. They need players who can play when it matters.

  • sirvivfan on June 21, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    I agree with Tony, I am not convinced with regard to AB' s captaincy. He is not in the same class as Smith. No side in the world can suddenly be able to cope with the loss of their opening bowlers and opening bat in Smith. As to the result on Wednesday, no doubt the weather had lot to do with it....it does not explain all the dismissals, however it put the SA batsmen on the defensive. If England had batted first they would also have suffered. Lok what happened whennSrimlanka chased against England at the same venue...they thrashed the same bowling! India have managed to win all the tosses, giving a huge advantage...so in odi in england you need luck. So South Afrucans must loose heart...they have fantastic players,just unlucky. That said Vernon,in English conditions particularly on wednesday bowling first would have out bowled evennAnderson! He must be in the ODI team. Riaz

  • Zak- on June 21, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @jimbond I have the complete opposite view: there's no reason at all why the top 6 in the batting line-up should differ between tests & ODIs. Let's field a settled, consistent and familiar batting line-up as far as possible.

  • Ubaidaleem on June 21, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    The key issue is the assignment of roles with in the team. AB should try and play as much balls as he can get and that calls for a batting position in top order... No 3 perhaps. Miller needs to come ahead of Robin Peterson... And Faf and Miller should take on the role of staying till the no matter what. Amla and Duminy should attack at all times. Ingram, Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy, Miller, Peterson, Mclaren, Styen, Morkel, Vernon(Should be given a chance)

  • BellCurve on June 21, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    @Seether1 - To use stats you need to take depth into consideration. Quinton De Kock only played 4 ODIs. His ODI stats are therefore very close to entirely meaningless. Behardien played 8 ODIs, his stats are therefore also far from conclusive. Richard Levi is 25 years old. He just enjoyed his most successful domestic season of his career. To discard him for being inconsistent in the handful of T20Is he has played would be very foolish. Robin Petersen has a tendency of performing against weak teams, and not showing up when it matters. He will also be 36 years old at the time of the next world cup. I prefer Johan Botha to him. The team I proposed would do better than the one that was competing at the ICC trophy.

  • jimbond on June 21, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    SA have lot of talent, but their ODI team has lot of 'test' written all over it (nowadays their test team also has some hybrid ODI in it). Given their substantial talent they should take to fielding alternative teams in the three versions. Use 'Test' players like AB, Amla, Steyn and Morkel only in occations like the world cup. Someone like Duminy in the current context is being underutilized both in tests and ODIs. Alviro Peterson may fit in more in the ODI versions than in tests. Better resource management certainly is a necessity

  • Amit_13 on June 21, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    The South African cricket machine is well oiled. There are genuine talents coming through and the bowling backbench would be envy of many sides. But that's it. Its a well oiled machine. They have had two, perhaps three, freak bowlers in Alan Donald, Dale Steyn and now maybe, Vernon Philander. They could turn any game on its head inside an hour. Their batsmen have rarely had the killer instinct of these hard men. They need that one guy who would be ordinary on some occasions but on his day would be a shark that smells blood. They are supremely intelligent and capable batsmen.. but genius transcends the realms of impossibility. Its not a time to think, its a time to let loose. HINT - Let A B go... find another captain.

  • Seether1 on June 21, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    @Xolile: At least check out the stats before commenting mate. Quinton de Kock averages 19 in ODIs, whereas Alviro has an average of 29 and is in the middle of a successful English season. Behardien has an ODI average of 33. Richard Levi has shown time and again that he does not belong at the highest level. Also, your WC team does not have Smith. Really, are you serious? No Robin Peterson? He has been the standout player for SA in the last 3 ICC tournaments i.e. WC 2011, T20 WC 2012 and CT 2013.

  • on June 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    SA mental disintegration in crucial matches is inexplicable. It has left cricket world bewildered. My observation tells me that: 1) SA team seems more disciplined than required. Sports is not 9 to 6 desk job. It is a system where success depends on how much you enjoy it. How much you are allowed to be 'yourself'; which is very important.

    I find SA team plays cricket like a army unit. The board has to liberate the players. Allow them freedom. Allow them freedom to fail so that fear of failure goes away from sub-conscious minds. SA team looks very good when everything goes according to plan but fails to handle any exception. It suggests there is psychological gap to fight with uncertainty. I think this explains its performance.

    2) SA doesn't field best XI in ODI cricket.

    3) Any captain and his team will feel vulnerable and weak when its board is not backing it up completely.

    4) The board shouldn't use ODIs as ground for experiment.

  • BellCurve on June 21, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    It is insane that Richard Levi and Quiton De Kock were not included in the team. They are both young and already have far superior records than Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen. Alviro is almost 33 years old. Why was he picked ahead of Richard Levi? I agree with the author's view on Philander. A world cup winning team would be: 1 Amla 2 De Kock (wk) 3 Kallis 4 De Villiers 5 Levi 6 Miller 7 Duminy 8 Philander 9 Botha (Capt) 10 Steyn 11 Morkel

  • Rajit on June 21, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Not sure if bringing in Vernon Philander will solve the problems of South African ODI squad...there's more to it...If we look at the SA team...there's no credible back up to the likes of Steyn,Morkel,Kallis,Amla & Devilliers.Likes of Morris,Tsotsobe,McClaren,Duminy ,Ingram are not in the same bracket as the former.

  • on June 21, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    They will never be any good in major tournaments until they actually know who their best 11 players are. The board obviously gives one day cricket little attention in that they are always picking new and fringe players, when coming into a major tournament they should be finalising who the best players are in the individual roles. England play boring one day cricket but at least they know who their best team is. You wonder why they pulled Alviro away from county cricket just to warm the bench. Kallis joins them when he feels like it and yet he has stated that he would like to play in the next World Cup - should he be allowed to dictate terms? And finally they need a leader - clearly AB is not the answer (great player but not a captain)- fielding positions against India, and bowling changes against WI and England were seriously flawed at critical stages. A think Tank is a good idea if the board will take heed of the recommendations.

  • on June 21, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    I'll tell you why SA are not no. 1 in ODIs despite being no. 1 in Tests. It's because they're not a convincing no. 1 in Tests either. No side is a convincing no. 1 in Test cricket. And hence no side is a convincing number 1 in ODI cricket. The only two teams that have ever reached sustained excellence like that in both forms of the game are West Indies in the 80s and Australia in the late 90s-2007. The reason they stayed at that sort of peak for a long time is because they played ultra-positive, ultra-aggressive cricket no matter what format they played. It didn't make a difference to them whether they were playing an ODI or a Test -- they approached the game the same way. This is something which SA (and for that matter any modern side) has not been able to do. There are times when SA play negative and defensive cricket -- and that is no way to stay at the top of the rankings.

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  • on June 21, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    I'll tell you why SA are not no. 1 in ODIs despite being no. 1 in Tests. It's because they're not a convincing no. 1 in Tests either. No side is a convincing no. 1 in Test cricket. And hence no side is a convincing number 1 in ODI cricket. The only two teams that have ever reached sustained excellence like that in both forms of the game are West Indies in the 80s and Australia in the late 90s-2007. The reason they stayed at that sort of peak for a long time is because they played ultra-positive, ultra-aggressive cricket no matter what format they played. It didn't make a difference to them whether they were playing an ODI or a Test -- they approached the game the same way. This is something which SA (and for that matter any modern side) has not been able to do. There are times when SA play negative and defensive cricket -- and that is no way to stay at the top of the rankings.

  • on June 21, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    They will never be any good in major tournaments until they actually know who their best 11 players are. The board obviously gives one day cricket little attention in that they are always picking new and fringe players, when coming into a major tournament they should be finalising who the best players are in the individual roles. England play boring one day cricket but at least they know who their best team is. You wonder why they pulled Alviro away from county cricket just to warm the bench. Kallis joins them when he feels like it and yet he has stated that he would like to play in the next World Cup - should he be allowed to dictate terms? And finally they need a leader - clearly AB is not the answer (great player but not a captain)- fielding positions against India, and bowling changes against WI and England were seriously flawed at critical stages. A think Tank is a good idea if the board will take heed of the recommendations.

  • Rajit on June 21, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Not sure if bringing in Vernon Philander will solve the problems of South African ODI squad...there's more to it...If we look at the SA team...there's no credible back up to the likes of Steyn,Morkel,Kallis,Amla & Devilliers.Likes of Morris,Tsotsobe,McClaren,Duminy ,Ingram are not in the same bracket as the former.

  • BellCurve on June 21, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    It is insane that Richard Levi and Quiton De Kock were not included in the team. They are both young and already have far superior records than Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen. Alviro is almost 33 years old. Why was he picked ahead of Richard Levi? I agree with the author's view on Philander. A world cup winning team would be: 1 Amla 2 De Kock (wk) 3 Kallis 4 De Villiers 5 Levi 6 Miller 7 Duminy 8 Philander 9 Botha (Capt) 10 Steyn 11 Morkel

  • on June 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    SA mental disintegration in crucial matches is inexplicable. It has left cricket world bewildered. My observation tells me that: 1) SA team seems more disciplined than required. Sports is not 9 to 6 desk job. It is a system where success depends on how much you enjoy it. How much you are allowed to be 'yourself'; which is very important.

    I find SA team plays cricket like a army unit. The board has to liberate the players. Allow them freedom. Allow them freedom to fail so that fear of failure goes away from sub-conscious minds. SA team looks very good when everything goes according to plan but fails to handle any exception. It suggests there is psychological gap to fight with uncertainty. I think this explains its performance.

    2) SA doesn't field best XI in ODI cricket.

    3) Any captain and his team will feel vulnerable and weak when its board is not backing it up completely.

    4) The board shouldn't use ODIs as ground for experiment.

  • Seether1 on June 21, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    @Xolile: At least check out the stats before commenting mate. Quinton de Kock averages 19 in ODIs, whereas Alviro has an average of 29 and is in the middle of a successful English season. Behardien has an ODI average of 33. Richard Levi has shown time and again that he does not belong at the highest level. Also, your WC team does not have Smith. Really, are you serious? No Robin Peterson? He has been the standout player for SA in the last 3 ICC tournaments i.e. WC 2011, T20 WC 2012 and CT 2013.

  • Amit_13 on June 21, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    The South African cricket machine is well oiled. There are genuine talents coming through and the bowling backbench would be envy of many sides. But that's it. Its a well oiled machine. They have had two, perhaps three, freak bowlers in Alan Donald, Dale Steyn and now maybe, Vernon Philander. They could turn any game on its head inside an hour. Their batsmen have rarely had the killer instinct of these hard men. They need that one guy who would be ordinary on some occasions but on his day would be a shark that smells blood. They are supremely intelligent and capable batsmen.. but genius transcends the realms of impossibility. Its not a time to think, its a time to let loose. HINT - Let A B go... find another captain.

  • jimbond on June 21, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    SA have lot of talent, but their ODI team has lot of 'test' written all over it (nowadays their test team also has some hybrid ODI in it). Given their substantial talent they should take to fielding alternative teams in the three versions. Use 'Test' players like AB, Amla, Steyn and Morkel only in occations like the world cup. Someone like Duminy in the current context is being underutilized both in tests and ODIs. Alviro Peterson may fit in more in the ODI versions than in tests. Better resource management certainly is a necessity

  • BellCurve on June 21, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    @Seether1 - To use stats you need to take depth into consideration. Quinton De Kock only played 4 ODIs. His ODI stats are therefore very close to entirely meaningless. Behardien played 8 ODIs, his stats are therefore also far from conclusive. Richard Levi is 25 years old. He just enjoyed his most successful domestic season of his career. To discard him for being inconsistent in the handful of T20Is he has played would be very foolish. Robin Petersen has a tendency of performing against weak teams, and not showing up when it matters. He will also be 36 years old at the time of the next world cup. I prefer Johan Botha to him. The team I proposed would do better than the one that was competing at the ICC trophy.

  • Ubaidaleem on June 21, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    The key issue is the assignment of roles with in the team. AB should try and play as much balls as he can get and that calls for a batting position in top order... No 3 perhaps. Miller needs to come ahead of Robin Peterson... And Faf and Miller should take on the role of staying till the no matter what. Amla and Duminy should attack at all times. Ingram, Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy, Miller, Peterson, Mclaren, Styen, Morkel, Vernon(Should be given a chance)