South Africa news June 25, 2012

Kirsten unconcerned by defeats

37

There is a reason why South Africa did not arrive in Johannesburg with disappointment painted on their faces after their defeats in the Zimbabwean tri-series. Cynics will say it is because they are not used to performing well in multi-team tournaments and getting as far as the final was good enough. However, the real explanation is something far more straightforward because, according to the the coach Gary Kirsten, South Africa's main priority was not to win.

It sounded like a half-baked excuse for losing by 29 runs, three wickets and nine wickets to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in a tournament that most expected South Africa to dominate. However, it was clear as Kirsten and the squad arrived back home that they would not linger long on the results over the last few days.

"It wasn't a failure, it was a very important tour," he said. "The purpose was to try out different combinations under match intensity. The results were disappointing but that wasn't our main goal. If our goal was to win a tournament in Zimbabwe we may have picked out strongest team."

Experimentation was the buzzword of the week for South Africa. They tried two different opening batting combinations, three new-ball bowling pairs and four middle-order match-ups, meaning that even when the same players featured in more than one match, the line-up was never a carbon copy of itself. "It helped us in terms of understanding what combinations we want use. The purpose was to find out," Kirsten said.

He admitted that the series may also have "confused" them in certain respects, rather than clarify who the best players for the job are. It is still a tight tussle between Richard Levi and Faf du Plessis to decide who will open with Hashim Amla, after both showed promise in that department. The middle-order also remains unpredictable. Colin Ingram had one start and one innings of substance at No.3, Justin Ontong put in a good showing at No.4 once, Farhaan Behardien struggled against spin in the conditions and Albie Morkel was given some opportunity, which he took.

Kirsten was cryptic about who had made their case for selection to the final World Twenty20 squad. "Some guys enhanced their opportunity to be selected for that squad and we were able to see what types of players do well in conditions that will be similar to Sri Lanka," he said. On the evidence available and with the return of AB de Villiers, who was rested for this tournament, it would seem Ingram and Behardien are most likely to miss out.

On the bowling front, Wayne Parnell raised eyebrows when he conceded 61 runs in four overs and 33 runs in three in the first two matches. He recovered well though, as the most economical bowler of the last two matches with returns of 2 for 18 and 3 for 16 respectively and was the only bowler to trouble Zimbabwe's batsmen in the final. "He got better and better," Kirsten said.

Concern still surrounds Lonwabo Tsotsosbe, who appeared disinterested and lethargic. In the four matches he played, he took just one wicket and was hit for 133 runs. "He has been a little bit slow this tour but I'd rather it happen now than leading into the major part of the season," Kirsten said. "He knows he's got a bit of work to do. He is a proud cricketer and takes his performances very seriously."

Marchant de Lange and Chris Morris were the other two seamers on tour. With both taking their first steps in the international game, Morris more so than De Lange, Kirsten said it was important that they were exposed to the rigours of top level cricket

"As much as this was a tour in preparation for that T20 event in September, the one thing we realised is that when you are representing your country, it doesn't matter who you are against, there's pressure," he said. "It's not like an A team where you are fighting for your place. Now you're in the team and you need to perform. There's a pressure that exists nowhere else."

Although pressure was something South Africa felt in most of their matches, Kirsten maintained casualness in his assessment of the tour. He emphasised that "it will be quickly forgotten from a performance perspective because that's what it was, to experiment with what we can do in T20 cricket," and confirmed that South Africa will field a full strength side in the three T20s against England in August. That XI will closely resemble their World T20 line-up.

Kirsten also saved some special words of praise for Zimbabwe though, to whom the tournament was anything but a practice outing. "Those guys are firing. They've got some explosive match winning players and good variety in their bowling attack," Kirsten said. "Our reason for this tour was slightly different to theirs. They played a fearless type of cricket because of the settled nature of their team. I suppose we went with an unsettled team because we wanted to test combinations."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Benny1725 on June 27, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    The lack of ruthlessness and intent in our performances throughout the series is of huge concern.At times it just seems as if we go through the motions and lack desire.Morkel must go and be replaced by Morris.I cannot think of the last time Albie played a innings of substance for the national side,his also a terrible bowler.And where is elgar and rossouw? I think gary and the entire nation should be concerned about our abysmal performances

  • JG2704 on June 27, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @AKS286 on (June 26 2012, 13:19 PM GMT) Yeah right , because that was the full SA side and not an experimental side which played in this tournament?

  • EnglishCricket on June 26, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @dariuscorny...But I didn't even say England will did I? Exactly :)

  • jonesy2 on June 26, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    you should be concerned gary. very concerned. it showed there is no depth and players like wayne parnell are far from international quality

  • AKS286 on June 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    below the pic of tsotsobe it is written "Lonwabo Tsotsosbe's form is a worry for South Africa but he has the backing of the coach"- i did't think so. look at the performance and he has taken up the wickets of batsmen not tailenders in his whole career.

  • AKS286 on June 26, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    zim fought very bravely in whole series and won. zim won over SA & WI loss to ENG. Zim is better than WI. ZIM don't have star players. SA & ENG T20 side is equivalent.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    @EnglishCricket on (June 25 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) I honestly think this T20wc is very very open and any of the established 8 nations can win it. WI are 9th ranked but guys like Narine will be more effective in SL and we all know what guys like Gayle , Smith , Bravo and Pollard can do with the bat. India are 7th but they have so much talent on paper and in SC conditions.SA have AB , Steyn,Morkel, Ind have Sehwag,Kholi,Dhoni , NZ have Guptill,Vetori,Ryder , Pak - Afridi , Ajmel,Gul , Aus have Warner,Hussey,Lee , SL - Sanga , Jaya , Malinga. All it takes in this fmt is for one or 2 of those players to shine and they can take the game away from any side. I'd actually say we (Eng) without KP , have the least big name/ impact T20 players out there but we somehow seem good at this fmt

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    @Arvindh Sarangapani on (June 26 2012, 08:44 AM GMT) surely there are less than 7 1st team regulars in that SA side. Not sure if Smith still plays T20 but I presume AB , Morne M , Kallis , Dumminy , Botha , Steyn would all be involved and they are just names I could think of from the top of my head. Also recent series results have shown that SA are in a good place in T20.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    I always say that the shorter the format , the greater the chance is of the minnows causing an upset and Zimbabwe may also be better than what we imagine at T20. Also this was very much a 2nd string SA side although if I was a SA fan I'd still be concerned about our bench strength and the margin of victory.

  • on June 26, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Big comedy..so SA cannot win the minnows leaving out their 4 main 11 players? that means they have a poor bench strength..Omg...they still had 7 main 11 players isnt it? they didnot loose 1 match but they lost 3 :-P

  • Benny1725 on June 27, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    The lack of ruthlessness and intent in our performances throughout the series is of huge concern.At times it just seems as if we go through the motions and lack desire.Morkel must go and be replaced by Morris.I cannot think of the last time Albie played a innings of substance for the national side,his also a terrible bowler.And where is elgar and rossouw? I think gary and the entire nation should be concerned about our abysmal performances

  • JG2704 on June 27, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @AKS286 on (June 26 2012, 13:19 PM GMT) Yeah right , because that was the full SA side and not an experimental side which played in this tournament?

  • EnglishCricket on June 26, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @dariuscorny...But I didn't even say England will did I? Exactly :)

  • jonesy2 on June 26, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    you should be concerned gary. very concerned. it showed there is no depth and players like wayne parnell are far from international quality

  • AKS286 on June 26, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    below the pic of tsotsobe it is written "Lonwabo Tsotsosbe's form is a worry for South Africa but he has the backing of the coach"- i did't think so. look at the performance and he has taken up the wickets of batsmen not tailenders in his whole career.

  • AKS286 on June 26, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    zim fought very bravely in whole series and won. zim won over SA & WI loss to ENG. Zim is better than WI. ZIM don't have star players. SA & ENG T20 side is equivalent.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    @EnglishCricket on (June 25 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) I honestly think this T20wc is very very open and any of the established 8 nations can win it. WI are 9th ranked but guys like Narine will be more effective in SL and we all know what guys like Gayle , Smith , Bravo and Pollard can do with the bat. India are 7th but they have so much talent on paper and in SC conditions.SA have AB , Steyn,Morkel, Ind have Sehwag,Kholi,Dhoni , NZ have Guptill,Vetori,Ryder , Pak - Afridi , Ajmel,Gul , Aus have Warner,Hussey,Lee , SL - Sanga , Jaya , Malinga. All it takes in this fmt is for one or 2 of those players to shine and they can take the game away from any side. I'd actually say we (Eng) without KP , have the least big name/ impact T20 players out there but we somehow seem good at this fmt

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    @Arvindh Sarangapani on (June 26 2012, 08:44 AM GMT) surely there are less than 7 1st team regulars in that SA side. Not sure if Smith still plays T20 but I presume AB , Morne M , Kallis , Dumminy , Botha , Steyn would all be involved and they are just names I could think of from the top of my head. Also recent series results have shown that SA are in a good place in T20.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    I always say that the shorter the format , the greater the chance is of the minnows causing an upset and Zimbabwe may also be better than what we imagine at T20. Also this was very much a 2nd string SA side although if I was a SA fan I'd still be concerned about our bench strength and the margin of victory.

  • on June 26, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Big comedy..so SA cannot win the minnows leaving out their 4 main 11 players? that means they have a poor bench strength..Omg...they still had 7 main 11 players isnt it? they didnot loose 1 match but they lost 3 :-P

  • on June 26, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Probably this should mr. Kepler Wessels's "South Africa A team"

  • joseyesu on June 26, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    SA-A team is far better than the Zim team. But the way Zim has led their team to success is remarkable. It is a remainder that in t20 nobody is a favorite.

  • on June 26, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Even Zim did not a field a full strength squad.....Raymond Razor Price, and Tatenda Taibu where not in the squad

  • satish619chandar on June 26, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    As always, Gary puts efforts on process rather than results.. If the process is fine, the result should be fine.. We miss you in India Mr.Gary..

  • jmcilhinney on June 26, 2012, 0:36 GMT

    Obviously SA didn't send their best team but any national coach who wasn't concerned by what is undoubtedly a poor performance wouldn't be earning his money. Just like any other national coach though, Kirsten is going to put as positive a spin on it and give as little away as possible. The main issue for SA here is the indication of a lack of depth.

  • RandyOZ on June 25, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    South Africa will win this series easy. The only difficult thing is going to be trying to determine which team is actually South Africa.

  • wiseshah on June 25, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    saf line up should be: 1. levy 2. faf du. 3. kallis 4.de villiers 5.duminy 6.albie 7.botha 8.steyn 9. morne 10. wayne parnell/tsotsobe/robin petersen plus one more batsman-it could be amla or farhan or ontong

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on June 25, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    I think this SA team on paper should have been able to beat several teams in world cricket including Zim and Bang in a tri series. Unfortunately they were far from their best and should not be content at all with their performance. I thought Zim did incredibly well and have shown great performance and it is clear that they are fast closing the gap between them and Bang. Nobody plays a match to lose it, so despite everything both SA and Bang got showed up practice matches including. Still I also don't see any reason for SA to be too worried, they have played well in the recent past, particularly when they have a line up that makes more sense. Levi should always open, Kallis will bring balance and JP adds the extra spin option. So too does Faf in spin friendly conditions as he showed in that narrow loss to Bang on a spin friendly pitch. Bang on the other hand need to worry, they can't afford to finish behind Zim but also because they need to develop a winning habit. They hav much to do.

  • dariuscorny on June 25, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    @EnglishCricket and neither England

  • Baundele on June 25, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Bangladesh also had an experimental side. South Africa's experiment must be a flop. None of their new players performed.

  • Adeel9 on June 25, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    Congrats to Zimbabwe from India. It's really good to see teams from the lower end of the table upsetting big boys.

  • on June 25, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    It happened. i don't feel like SA play with bad team compare with Zimba team. SA country cricket also better then Zimba's team

  • mernard on June 25, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    its yo secret sa,a loss is a loss.go zim go

  • BellCurve on June 25, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Some very poor comments here. SA sent a bunch of fringe players. Fringe players per definition are keen to impress. And we all know what usually happens when you're keen to impress.

  • VaZure on June 25, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Hahahahaha. I wonder what the South African coach and players would say when Zimbabwe manage to beat South Africa in Sri lanka. Its only a couple of months before the World Cup.

  • nlambda on June 25, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    What was the result learnt from the 'experimentation'? That without their "A" players SA are beatable by BAN and ZIM? Take out Steyn, Kallis, Smith and it is hard to deal with the formidable Zimbabweans?

  • on June 25, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    Hats off to Zimbabwe...they played their hearts out. I understand exactly what South Africa was doing with their combinations (in these unofficial matches). Gary Kirsten is simply a winner everywhere he goes (BRILLIANT MIND). I look forward to whom they will go with in their bowling department...the batting is top class, but its their bowlers I would be concerned with in SL conditions.

  • Min2_cric on June 25, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    bt still SA is SA...SA should hav won quite easily...

  • whatawicket on June 25, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    give us a laugh kirsten, i agree if you had sent your best 11 you would have won of course you would that goes without saying.what you wanted was to go win 5/6 of your better players and with make up with players to try out in international style cricket. it goes without saying of course you still expecting to win, you should have won, you did not win. to be beaten like you were was a disgrace and you can not cover it up with bluster.

  • NAZMO-CRICKFANN on June 25, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    IF SOUTH AFRICA'S PURPOSE IS NOT TO WIN THEN THEY SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THE TOURNAMENT

  • on June 25, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    So individuals are expected to be inconsistent or sub-standard if the line-up is experimental? Is this really a confession of lack of depth?

  • Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on June 25, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    No matter what officials try to explain, truth is SA does not have depth and they rely so heavily on Steyn, Morkel, D VIlliers even on T20 is sad

  • moloko on June 25, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    im disappointedby the proteas lose in the series, but i dont think hassim amla should be playing t20 cricket, he cannot play t20. Im a big fan of colin ingram and i think he should be in the team. we will see what happens in the tso series in england

  • CricketingStargazer on June 25, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Hopefully no one is going to look at these results and start to underestimate South Africa. When the chips are down this summer - which they most definitely were not here - they will be dangerous opponents. At most these results suggest that the reserve strength is not as great as they might like but then agin, these days, what side does have really good strength in its reserves?

  • on June 25, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Kirsten is right as these results do not matter as far as prep for the T20 World-cup are concerned.Their main aim was to test their bench strength as give exposure to the youngsters at international level.

  • EnglishCricket on June 25, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Kirsten I won't be that concerned of course but I would not take anyone lightly because this tournament taught South Africa and other teams a big lesson that never underestimate any team whether they're ranked high or low. The fact is that South Africa were overconfident in this tournament and most of their games were not easy for them and credit has to go the minnows for giving a tough game. However, I still can't see neither of these three teams Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and South Africa winning the World T20 Championships.

  • AKS286 on June 25, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    THE AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE IS UNSTOPPABLE IN ANY KIND OF PITCH. DEADLY BARRAGE CAN DESTROY ANY FORTRESS.

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  • AKS286 on June 25, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    THE AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE IS UNSTOPPABLE IN ANY KIND OF PITCH. DEADLY BARRAGE CAN DESTROY ANY FORTRESS.

  • EnglishCricket on June 25, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Kirsten I won't be that concerned of course but I would not take anyone lightly because this tournament taught South Africa and other teams a big lesson that never underestimate any team whether they're ranked high or low. The fact is that South Africa were overconfident in this tournament and most of their games were not easy for them and credit has to go the minnows for giving a tough game. However, I still can't see neither of these three teams Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and South Africa winning the World T20 Championships.

  • on June 25, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    Kirsten is right as these results do not matter as far as prep for the T20 World-cup are concerned.Their main aim was to test their bench strength as give exposure to the youngsters at international level.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 25, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Hopefully no one is going to look at these results and start to underestimate South Africa. When the chips are down this summer - which they most definitely were not here - they will be dangerous opponents. At most these results suggest that the reserve strength is not as great as they might like but then agin, these days, what side does have really good strength in its reserves?

  • moloko on June 25, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    im disappointedby the proteas lose in the series, but i dont think hassim amla should be playing t20 cricket, he cannot play t20. Im a big fan of colin ingram and i think he should be in the team. we will see what happens in the tso series in england

  • Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on June 25, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    No matter what officials try to explain, truth is SA does not have depth and they rely so heavily on Steyn, Morkel, D VIlliers even on T20 is sad

  • on June 25, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    So individuals are expected to be inconsistent or sub-standard if the line-up is experimental? Is this really a confession of lack of depth?

  • NAZMO-CRICKFANN on June 25, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    IF SOUTH AFRICA'S PURPOSE IS NOT TO WIN THEN THEY SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THE TOURNAMENT

  • whatawicket on June 25, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    give us a laugh kirsten, i agree if you had sent your best 11 you would have won of course you would that goes without saying.what you wanted was to go win 5/6 of your better players and with make up with players to try out in international style cricket. it goes without saying of course you still expecting to win, you should have won, you did not win. to be beaten like you were was a disgrace and you can not cover it up with bluster.

  • Min2_cric on June 25, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    bt still SA is SA...SA should hav won quite easily...