World Cup 2015: South Africa March 27, 2015

Domingo advises against radical changes

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The tears have dried, the words have been spoken, some sleep finally came to stop the re-runs of Tuesday night that have been playing in the minds of the South Africa squad, and a few of them have made the 30-hour journey home. It is all over and as the scabs form over the open wounds, Russell Domingo has said calm, not change, is the way forward.

"We will let things settle down a little bit, we will grimace and bear watching the final between Australia and New Zealand, or we might watch Kaizer Chiefs instead, and then we take stock of where we are. There is such a fine line between winning and losing, and for us to want to make radical or drastic changes or chuck this out or chuck that out based on a boundary with one ball to spare will be a little bit immature," Domingo said. "We don't want players to make emotional decisions after a tournament like this and think of retiring."

The eight members of the squad in their 30s, including AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, may not see another World Cup but Domingo wants to leave the door open. "We're hoping AB plays until 2027," he joked. "Look, Kumar Sangakkara got four hundreds back to back. He is 37. AB's best batting years are ahead of him. JP's best batting years are ahead of him, Faf's too. At the next World Cup, you could have a seriously mature, experienced batting group. There is by no means talk that that's the end of that batting group. I still think they've got at least one World Cup to go."

De Villiers would not be drawn that far into the future, maintaining that he still has "absolutely no idea" how the team will get over this and that he is "not there yet." He has a week off before the IPL, which he hopes to use to get there. "I need some time away from the game. Luckily, I have got a week at home with family - not my mom and dad because they are still in Sydney, they thought we were going to the final so it's quite ironic," he said. "But my wife is here. I'll play with my dogs, play a round of golf, have a beer or two. Come the first game of the IPL, I will start thinking of where this cricket thing is moving to."

Domingo did not go as far as bowlers in de Villiers' age group but hinted some changes may come in the support staff, when contracts are renegotiated over the next few weeks.

"Regarding the management team, quite a few guys' contracts come up at the end of April. We will have to sit down, with the CEO and the board, and go through that and make a decision pretty soon. There's no confirmation of who is staying and who is going," Domingo said.

For now, the only movement in South African cricket is that of the players returning to the country from Auckland. They are arriving in four groups and the first one, which touched down on Friday morning, included De Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, JP Duminy and Rilee Rossouw. They were met in Perth by two young girls who brought banners on which they had written, in Afrikaans, "You are still heroes", and "Still proud."

By the time they reached Johannesburg, at 4.40am, a crowd had gathered at OR Tambo International Airport. "Give me a hug AB, I'm also sad," was one of the posters on display. De Villiers responded with a warm embrace. The players signed autographs and posed for pictures and fed off the cocoon of support they've been ensconced in.

"I was expecting some negativity from fans and the media but the messages we have received have made us feel like a bunch of winners just like our minister always says," de Villiers said.

The minister, Fikile Mbalula, arrived half an hour into the press conference, saying he would not have woken up that early to welcome home a "bunch of losers" and he let de Villiers know he had shared the team's tears. "You were determined to cross the line," Mbalula said. "I don't know who Duck or Lewis is but we tried our best and lost."

That was there for all to see as South Africa provided one of the World Cup's best games despite finishing on the wrong side. Their despair on the field in Auckland had continued into the change room where de Villiers said it was "difficult to talk afterwards," although he tried. "Russell and I said a few words, all just encouraging the guys. I thought it was really important for the guys not to sulk too much. I told them how proud I was and how easy they made my job as a captain, knowing they were right behind me."

South Africa did not return with the trophy the nation so desperately wanted, but de Villiers assured them they returned with memories to treasure despite the way it ended. "I had written a few words on a diary every day of the tournament and it's all positive. I've got such great memories. I had a wonderful time," he said.

He also hoped the team had fuelled the dreams of those who may follow. "For me, the World Cup is something you work your whole life for. It's something I started dreaming of when I was really young," de Villiers said. "There is not 1% doubt in my mind that every single member of the squad was there with 100% passion.

"We gave it our best. It's the main prize in my heart - to come back and see the difference we've made to the youngsters of South Africa. It's about performing in a way that inspires the next generations. For example, I didn't think of South Africa losing in the 1992 World Cup, I thought of Jonty Rhodes' run-out and things like that inspired me. Hopefully we have the same influence."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pmbcricket on March 29, 2015, 15:16 GMT

    Gangully made an excellent choice for the Proteas......Parnell as 5th bowler. He is an alrounder but hasnt been given da chance. Ine bad game and he is taken out. With the exception of Tahir Morkel and Abbott the rest went for runs without taking wickets. This tournament was f ominated by lefthand seam. We missed the trick here.

  • Mirza on March 29, 2015, 12:09 GMT

    Hope the next Wrold Cup 2019 schedule is like WC1992 where each team plays against another with a reserve day for continuation of play just like we had during 1983 WC. Both were good events, with WC 1992 being the best so far.

  • niaz on March 28, 2015, 22:50 GMT

    I think they should allow 50 overs to go for two days.. matches should not be ruled by rain. Saying that Dale Styen and Philander did not look like a top bowler for the whole WC2015. Tahir was excellent, if the quicks had good outings, SA would restrict other teams. Abbott is probably SA's next best weapon. SA may have done well with a lineup that includes Tahir, Morkel, Abbott and Phasingo... Frankly Boult, Starc, Hazlewood, Southee, Holder, and some asian quicks have better WC2015 than Steyn & Co.

  • Shulz Van on March 28, 2015, 11:17 GMT

    People's Champ. The best team of the tournament.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2015, 10:57 GMT

    Bring in Rabada now and let him get as much experience as possible before the next world cup. Make Rilee Russouw the regular no.4 Keep De Kock and give him another year to prove himself. Parnell, Behardien etc - I'm not sure about those guys. If a genuine all rounder comes along - bring him in. As for Steyn - learn to bowl yorkers. Swing it both ways. Imran - go on tour around every school in SA coaching leg spin. We need youngsters to realise the power of the leggie.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2015, 10:35 GMT

    @Charlieparlie - your comments are very much appreciated and encouraging. That semi final was one of the best games of cricket I know of - and hats off to your boys for showing plenty of grit and sportsmanship as well. I will be rooting for the Black Caps all the way tomorrow. They will need to bring their best game and plenty of self belief - which I think they have. McCullum is the right kind of captain for tomorrows match - courageous, cocky and likes a good scrap. And then he has that cool assassin Vettori to balance it out. To beat the Aussies in Australia in a world cup final would be legendary. All the best Kiwi's.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2015, 6:15 GMT

    Hindsight is 20/20 and when you lose people criticize. I'm a Pakistani supporter but love the proteas. I disagree that they play"boorish/booksh" cricket. In Abd and roussow, they have dynamic players. But what I love about this team is the manner in which they carry themselves, professional and playing positive cricket, proper role models!! Their semi was too close to call. This team had the talent to lift the cup!! You guys should be proud.

  • Venkata on March 28, 2015, 4:07 GMT

    Coming to the radical changes. The team definitely needs changes in the bowling department. None of our current bowlers know how to bowl yorkers (barring Abbott to some extent). de Lange should be given a good run along with Beuran Hendricks (instead of Parnell). Morris should be included in Philander's place. He is a legitimate all rounder in Woakes' mould unlike Philander who is predominantly a bowler who can bat a bit. So who drops out? Steyn, Philander for sure & probably JPD! I would also like to see Faf leading the side than AB. That removes the added pressure on him! Faf has the potential to lead the side I believe.

  • Venkata on March 28, 2015, 4:07 GMT

    Its a combination of errors that did SA in. SA made 6, NZ made 3. As Michael Holding said, the team which made least mistakes won. SA dropping Abbott, Dropping Elliott, Missed run -outs of Anderson & Elliott & D/L (not their fault but they did end up getting screwed by it), in total made 6. NZ on the other hand, dropped QDK & Amla (didn't make a difference), dropping AB would've definitely caused them the match, in total made 3.

  • Barry on March 27, 2015, 14:15 GMT

    Kiwi here. The Proteas are a great team, are humble, gentleman and have fantastic skill. Cricket between two close teams is a game that is exposed to chance in a one off game. A 5 game series is fairer. I will admit that the dice did not fall the Proteas way in that game. They could have one - it was 65 35 SA before the rain. McCullum had used up his premium bowlers before the rain and whatever Duckworth Lewis thought SA would score would have been based on the fact that SA was facing premium bowling in the last 7 - we know that would not have been the case. There are other aspects of the game, however. What if Williamson had not dropped ABD at short cover early on? What if Guptill had not been run out? Also remember NZ did score 299 in under 43 overs - that is a big chase, and McCullum really hurt SA early on.

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