Former bowler speaks out August 28, 2004

'South Africa's performance is unacceptable' - de Villiers

Wisden Cricinfo staff
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Fanie de Villiers bares his soul © Getty Images

Fanie de Villiers, the former swing bowler, feels that there is a dire need for immediate changes in South African cricket and says that the performance of the national team is "unacceptable". Apart from the national team, he also advocated changes at the lower levels.

"Will it be a case where we have to wait until everything has been destroyed before someone wakes up and attempts to rebuild it all," de Villiers was quoted as saying in the Supersport website. Someone in the national heirarchy, according to him, needs to revamp the system and has to have to intelligence to do it successfully.

"What we have at the moment simply does not work," he continued. "The coach and his management team have taken our Test side from No. 1 to No. 6 internationally, and our one-day team has dropped similarly. One fact has been established and that is that change has to come - not only at national level, but also at provincial level."

De Villiers also pointed out the paucity of bowlers in South African cricket and said: "Why is it that in the past five years no bowlers of note have come through the provincial set-up into the national team? We have been struggling with our bowling for so long and we remain at the same level. South African cricket has to think carefully and use the knife thoroughly to cut out what is wrong. It can't continue like this. It is unacceptable that a proud cricket country like South Africa can deteriorate like this."

According to de Villiers, Graeme Smith had the potential to transform the fortunes of this side but felt that Smith wasn't getting the required support. "There is sufficient know-how in South African cricket, but it is not used properly. Pat Symcox did three weeks' commentary work on the Asia Cup - prior to our tour to Sri Lanka. Yet nobody took the trouble to phone Pat and pick his brain about the conditions and the Sri Lankan team. That is pathetic."