Since their readmission into the game ahead of the 1992 World Cup, South Africa have been one of the more consistent teams on the international circuit. However, they haven't managed to win a World Cup despite the presence of top quality players over the years. In this episode of CONTENDERS, former South Africa captain Graeme Smith throws light on how the tag of "chokers" impacts the team and assesses the chances of the current outfit to finally get the monkey of their backs. He is joined by former India captain Rahul Dravid.
What they said about…
The tag of "chokers"
Smith: You can't get away from it. It's about fronting up, it's about dealing with it, it's about saying - "Look we haven't won a tournament yet, we haven't won a knockout game yet but it's about facing up and winning."
Dravid: Other than 1999 with Lance Klusener, they had a winning position that South Africa found themselves in, none of the other World Cups they were actually in a winning position. They just didn't play well, they didn't play up to their potential and that can happen.
The strength of the SA squad
Smith: I feel like it's a good opportunity for many reasons - we have match-winners with both bat and ball, more than we've ever had in the top five. The key changes we have in this line-up is that we've got attacking bowling, the one that can take wickets and we have an attacking spinner which is a big thing for a South African team.
Dravid: One area in this team that differs from the other South African teams is that they don't have that allrounder at No. 7. They don't have anyone in their top five or six that can bowl medium-pace.
The success of AB de Villiers
Smith: He's a very motivated guy, really driven by the energy of what's going on around him. That's the way he will lead. I think instinctively, and tactically he's grown over time.
Dravid: It's sensational what he does with the bat. Just his flexibility, being able to bat in the top order, he could come in if you lose a couple of early wickets and still perform a great role and bat you to a position of strength or if you've got a good start, finish your games off under pressure as well.
Hashim Amla as an ODI opener
Smith: He's like that guy who you don't really know is killing you, but he's killing you. He is going to be another key performer for South Africa. If he's getting runs, it takes a lot of pressure off everybody else.
The role Dale Steyn will play
Dravid: You want wickets upfront from him. There are not many people who can swing the ball at pace. That's a priceless asset to have.
Smith: He will be extremely motivated in this World Cup. He would want to make a big impact, I think he's fresh. The key as a captain is that you're always going to use him at the tough times: Powerplay, death, upfront.
The strength of the pace attack
Smith: They're blessed - [Morne] Morkel, [Vernon] Philander, Steyn are three of the best at the moment. Vernon has still got a question mark over his head in ODI, stamina towards the back end is going to be his challenge.
Dravid: We've seen with Steyn and Morkel that at the time of the death overs, they haven't been able to execute the yorkers in T20s. But those conditions might be different from what they might encounter.