Boucher disappointed South Africa 'went to sleep' after 'fear of failure'

The South Africa head coach says the batters lacked intent and belief

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
David Miller in action during the 3rd ODI, South Africa vs Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Centurion, March 23, 2022

Boucher on South Africa's batting - "It was almost like we went out with the fear of getting out, rather than going out to set a total"  •  Getty Images

South Africa's head coach Mark Boucher has said that his side's "fear of failure" played a role in their defeat in the ODI series against Bangladesh. Boucher repeated the phrase several times during the post-match press conference, adding that the team lacked belief in playing spin, something that he considered they did well in Sri Lanka last year.
The home side were bowled out for 154 in 37 overs, with offspinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz getting Bangladesh the initial breakthrough of Quinton de Kock's wicket, while Shakib Al Hasan kept things steady later in the innings. Taskin Ahmed took eight wickets in both of South Africa's losses, but Boucher believed that if they handled Mehidy and Shakib better, they could have won this series.
"We lacked the intent today," Boucher said. "After we got off to a very good start today, we went to sleep. It is certainly not the way we want to play. We wanted to take the game forward after a good start. We just didn't manage to do that. I think they bowled well but you have to take some risks to create scoring opportunities. It was almost like we went out with the fear of getting out, rather than going out to set a total. The way the wicket played, it was over 300.
"I think (the ODI side needs) belief in the way we want to play. We played spin well in Sri Lanka, but when we came to South Africa where the conditions helped the spinners, we went back to the old way of playing. We are still having a lot of chats, to try to get the guys to believe that this is the way to play spin in turning conditions.
"It was almost Indian-sort of conditions in our home country. We want the guys to be proactive, but they didn't do it today. We have been working on our shot selection. The guys know they have the armory to do that, but it is one thing to understand that you got it, but it is another thing to execute it. There seem to be a little bit of a block and fear of getting out, rather than understanding that the game is about runs and try to put the fear of failure out of your mind."
Boucher said that that the lack of pace offered by Bangladesh's spinners was the key difference between how they played spin in Sri Lanka, and against India at home, and how they handled Bangladesh.
"If you look at where we have come from, we always had problem playing spin. We worked hard to score all around the wicket. We have to be nice and aggressive, but also smart when playing spin. Certain players like Rassie (van der Dussen) did it against India in Paarl.
"He took the game on, and it changed the whole state of the game. Bangladesh's spinners bowled really slowly against us, so it is always difficult to run down and hit the ball over the top. We have the skillset to do it. I just think that the belief was not there maybe against this type of bowling. We almost went into our shells in this series."
Boucher, however, conceded that South Africa were outplayed by Bangladesh, which has set off some alarm bells for their direct qualification to the 2023 World Cup. Currently, South Africa are in ninth position in the ICC ODI Super League points table.
"The alarm bells are always there. We are putting ourselves under pressure but we have to come to the party. I certainly believe that if we rock up, we stick to our game plans, we arrive with confidence, we can beat anyone in the world. We have shown that in the T20 World Cup.
"It is basically the same personnel in our one-day team as well. We have a lot of things to talk about. We have beaten those teams (India, England, Australia) before. We have to beat them again to qualify (to the World Cup)."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84