South Africa news August 5, 2010

World Cup not the only priority for SA - van Zyl

Cricinfo staff

South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has said the 2011 World Cup is not the only priority for his team, although they have begun preparing for the tournament to be played in the sub-continent.

"I don't want the World Cup to become a huge thing, it is just another step in the process," he told the Independent Online. "If we focus too much on the World Cup, the players get too tense."

South Africa have never won the World Cup, reaching three semi-finals and one quarter-final. They were knocked out in the first round of the 2003 World Cup at home.

"We want to focus on each series as it comes and each one will be another stepping stone for the team towards the World Cup," van Zyl said. "Every tour and series we play this season - Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India at home, and the World Cup - are all part of the bigger picture. We believe if we tick the boxes and do things right, the results will take care of themselves."

Technical and tactical excellence, fitness and conditioning, and team management were the boxes to be ticked, according to van Zyl, who is currently working out his players at the High Performance Centre at Tuks University.

"We have worked out what we need to do to better ourselves going forward and one of those things is conditioning. We have the time now to get the guys into peak condition, and once they are there, it is easier to maintain that condition.

"We also have to ensure that we function well as a team and that we improve the image of the Proteas, which took a knock after our disappointing performance in the Twenty20 World Cup [where South Africa were knocked out in the Super Sixes]. We need to make sure that we get the support of the country behind us again."

Van Zyl also said he does not expect too much experimentation with the ODI sidehead of the World Cup.

"We have three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe, five against Pakistan and five against India," he said. That means we have only 13 matches to sort out our combinations ahead of the World Cup. I can't speak for the selectors, but I think where they will experiment with the younger players [is] in the Twenty20 matches."