• ’We have to be better’

    Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has vowed to pick his side up off the canvas and do everything he can to get them back to winning ways, writes DANIEL GALLAN. 

    GOLIATH COLUMN: Chasing the ghost of World Cups past

    Following two defeats to England and Bangladesh that have left his side winless in the World Cup, Gibson referenced heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, who was upset by Andy Ruiz Jr to lose a trio of belts.

    ‘He’ll probably win his next fight, even though he was put on the floor,’ Gibson said.

    ‘We need to pick ourselves up and put in the performances on the field.’

    Gibson conveyed his disappointment with his side’s inability to perform the tasks they had been selected to do. He bemoaned his batters’ struggles in converting starts into big scores, and expressed frustration with his bowlers’ lack of confidence to execute prearranged plans.

    ‘If you look at Chris Morris – who is one of the best bowlers of a yorker in the country –he hardly bowled to his strengths in the final overs,’ Gibson said.

    ‘Same with KG [Kagiso Rabada]. We need to return to our super strengths. If your super strength is bowling yorkers, then that is what you must bowl. If it is bowling slower balls, then that’s what you turn to.’

    READ: Du Plessis vows to fight on

    Against Bangladesh, South Africa conceded 54 runs in the final four overs. Death bowling has been a perennial problem for the side for quite some time now, and it was a particular sore point for the head coach, who prides himself on his bowling pedigree.

    ‘The way the field was set, the bowlers had three options: bowl short, bowl a slower ball or ball yorkers. We didn’t do any of that, and when you look at where the game was won or lost it was in those final overs.’

    As has been well documented, Gibson’s original plan was to build around a strong quartet of fast bowlers. Anrich Nortje was injured before the start of the World Cup, and Dale Steyn has yet to feature as a result of a recurring shoulder injury. Now, with Lungi Ngidi out for a week, his only strike bowler is an out-of-form Rabada.

    ‘When you look at it over the two years since I’ve been here, I looked at the attack I needed to win a world cup and that included all four of those players,’ Gibson explained.

    ‘Now it’s time for the bench to step up. I believe that they have what it takes. Obviously they are not the first choice names, but looking round the country we believe they are good enough to be part of the 15.’

    Morris lacks the pace of the above four, but Gibson is not misleading when he says the all-rounder has the potential to bowl yorkers at will.

    Imran Tahir continues to impress, and Andile Phehlukwayo’s golden arm is one of the reasons why Bangladesh posted a total that was still within reach. The Proteas have options, even if their original plan is now no longer on the table.

    ‘There is no place to hide at the World Cup,’ Gibson said. ‘There is no use to sulk around. We have to be better with bat and ball and we will be.’

    READ: Duminy: We are not far away

    – Daniel Gallan is a freelance sports writer, follow him on Twitter: @danielgallan

    Post by