TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
ANOTHER tournament, another disappointment. You would think South Africans wouldn’t be surprised that their team have somehow fallen short at the 2016 World T20. And yet, they are. Here are five things SA need to change if they are going to win anything that bears an International Cricket Council crest:
Take note of the question-mark. Should Russell Domingo be sacked? He is the only coach to take SA past the first stage of the knockout rounds at major tournaments. That counts for something, but for what exactly? All coaches reach their sell-by dates – besides, perhaps, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, whose eyes are swimming in formaldehyde – and it may well be that Domingo has reached his. But before that decision is made cricket owes the man an honest, unemotional analysis of what he has done wrong – and right.
Another question-mark, but you won’t find nearly as many people yelling, “Yes!” as their answer compared to the hordes calling for Domingo’s head. From outside the dressingroom Faf du Plessis appears to be the best captain SA have, and that goes for any format. But he has also presided over his team’s failure at the WT20. That means his performance as captain should be scrutinised more than most. If that happens he will probably pass the test, but it needs to happen.
Enough with the over-thinking already
A while ago the plan was that AB de Villiers shouldn’t come to the crease before the 10th over in T20s. Then he was opening batting. Then the plan was for him to take guard in the first six overs. And that’s just one example of how SA beat themselves before they even step onto the field. Dale Steyn is another. Why, exactly, was he at the WT20? Success lies in simplicity. SA seem bent on complicating their game beyond all comprehension.
Talking big, playing small
We’ve all heard far too many times how much playing for the Proteas means to those who do, from those who do. Thank you, we get it. We’ve all seen the cringeworthy marketing campaigns – Faf in that second-skin, leopard-print shirt? What the hell were they trying to do? Get him arrested for pimping in the dressingroom? No thank you, we’re not that stupid. And we all know that none of that gumph is going make a jot of difference until the damn fools get their act together enough go out there and win one of these things. Try talking small and playing big for a change.
And so to us, the public – specifically to those among us who worship this team as if they have been beamed down by Scotty himself. They haven’t. They’re regular blokes who happen to be able to hit, bowl, field and run between the wickets rather better than the rest of us. But not necessarily better than every other bunch of regular blokes on the planet. Which means that, sometimes, SA will lose. It also means that perhaps they simply aren’t good enough to win big events. SA are not the best team in the world, just the best team in SA. The world is a lot bigger than this country and it’s time we understood that truth. Maybe then we can help them improve.