Only a World Cup victory will rid South Africa of the chokers tag, says former South Africa batsman Daryll Cullinan.
Cullinan, in his column for the Times, has provided some sobering thoughts for the Proteas and their fans alike before they play either New Zealand or the West Indies in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Although South Africa managed to win their first ever World Cup knockout-match against Sri Lanka in Wednesday’s quarter-final, Cullinan feels they still haven’t moved on from failures in the past.
‘Nothing but a World Cup victory will rid South Africa of the chokers tag,’ wrote Cullinan.
‘Rightly or wrongly, South Africa have to bear the cross, but what has been impressive so far is that the team has not shied away from the tag. Sri Lanka played poor cricket. In their heart of hearts, I don’t think they believed they could beat South Africa.
‘South Africa will leave Australia confident, but if they are honest with themselves there are still some lingering doubts about their ability under pressure with the bat. It would have been great if they had chased down 250 runs or so and won, as this would have been a massive confidence boost when it comes to this part of their game.’
Cullinan says the only thing that worries him is South Africa’s inconsistency after big wins.
‘South Africa have put in a poor performance or two after big wins. The consistency has not always been there.
‘Is Quinton de Kock truly back in form? I don’t think so. Chasing down 134 is hardly batting under pressure, but at least the heat is off him for now,’ said Cullinan.
Meanwhile, South Africa-born explorer Mike Horn, who joined the Proteas as they prepared for their quarter-final clash with Sri Lanka, will travel with the team to New Zealand where they play a semi-final on Tuesday.
Horn would also be able to stay with the team should they reach the final on 29 March. South Africa travelled to the World Cup without a mental coach, which coach Russell Domingo said they didn’t need and have been doing without for quite some time now.
Horn’s involvement for the quarter-finals obviously had a positive effect on the players, and you can’t blame them for keeping him around.
Consultants Michael Hussey and Gary Kirsten will also be joining up with South Africa ahead of the semi-finals. Hussey has worked with the players regularly over the last five weeks while Kirsten was last involved when the Proteas beat the West Indies in the pool stage.