World Cup 2007 April 26, 2007

Majola hits out at South Africa's 'mental strength'

Cricinfo staff



Graeme Smith's team was blown away in the semi-final to complete a tournament where South Africa flattered to deceive © AFPs
Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's CEO, has criticised the team's mental strength and inability to build on recent successes following their seven-wicket thrashing by Australia in the World Cup semi-final. A statement issued by him less than 24 hours after South Africa exited the tournament pulled few punches, saying the board was "deeply disappointed in the performance in the semi-final and at the World Cup in general."

South Africa, he pointed out, had failed to reach the final despite being offered assistance of every conceivable kind. "No stone was left unturned over the past two years in preparing them for this World Cup. In addition, they were given a professional support staff of 12 for the World Cup. So against this preparation and support background, we have to find out why they were so inconsistent and put remedial measures in place."

Majola outlined where he felt the team fell down. "Other general weaknesses facing South African cricket lie with mental strength, swing and spin bowling," he said. "We must remember that this is virtually the same squad that won 13 matches on the trot and established themselves as the world's best ODI exponents over the last two years. We have to find a way of taking this consistency into tournaments because this World Cup has shown an alarming inconsistency in the performances."

Plans are already in place, he said, to try and solve the problems. "We are dealing with these issues at the High Performance Centre. In addition, CSA and the boards of Pakistan and India have agreed to an academy exchange programme.

"This will enable us to send a squad of spinners to the subcontinent for specialist coaching and for selected batsmen to learn to play spin in those conditions. Pakistan and India will then be able to use their bowlers and batsmen to train in our quicker conditions."