Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has suggested the Proteas were ‘too one-dimensional and regimented’ to win World Cups.
The Proteas have a long and disappointing history of exiting World Cups at crucial junctures, including 1999, when Australia advanced to the final on the back of a semi-final tie.
‘I just think back to 1999 and they said South Africa choked, but we choked as well, but they just choked at the wrong time. We choked the over before and it didn’t matter as much,’ said Waugh at the recent 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.
‘I think maybe the only way I can sum it up is that South Africa wanted it too much. Under those extreme moments of pressure, they haven’t really had a backup plan or a way to improvise and think on their feet.’
Waugh captained Australia to the title at that 1999 World Cup, after Proteas all-rounder Lance Klusener and tailender Allan Donald’s infamous run-out in the semi-final.
‘When you do it, it gives you that belief but until you’ve done it, you can’t get that belief. You just need to do it that one time and then you’ll be all right. I’m sure that’s the case for South Africa that if they win one, they’ll wonder why they were so stressed about it. You’ve just got to somehow win that first one,’ added Waugh.
Australia will host the T20 World Cup later this year. South Africa have been pooled with India, Afghanistan, England and two qualifying teams for the tournament.
‘Australia will be one of the favourites, if not the favourites for the T20 World Cup. They’re a good team and capable of beating anyone, so they will fancy their chances. South Africa, maybe it’s their time when it’s least expected. Maybe they can pull a surprise. South Africa has a lot of talent in T20 cricket. I wouldn’t rule them out,’ concluded Waugh.
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