De Villiers was extremely disappointed with South Africa’s performance throughout the World Twenty20
Having had a less than impressive showing during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, South Africa captain AB de Villiers has announced that his squad is unconcerned with the “choker” tag that many cricket pundits have bestowed upon them.
South Africa, who were eliminated from the World Twenty20 in the super 8s stages, have failed to win any major tournament or World Cup since their return from an apartheid-induced ban in 1990.
However, de Villiers stated that his team were still one of the toughest opponents in limited overs cricket.
“I am going to be very honest with you, and I am going to put it up straight up front — we have choked in the past and we know about it, we have had some really bad experiences in the past. But I emphasis the word ‘past’. We have come with a new look in this team and we have worked hard with our new management team that has given us a lot of energy and new ideas,” de Villiers said.
One of the worst “choker” moments for South Africa came in the 1999 World Cup in England, where they failed to make the finals after suffering a defeat at the hands of Australia, despite needing only one run to win off four deliveries.
Another example would be during the Champions Trophy semi-final against India in Colombo in 2002, where South Africa lost the match by 10 runs after being in a comfortable position of 192-1 and needing only 70 runs from the last 14 overs.
But, even as the years progress, South Africa’s luck does not seem to be changing, as shown in last year’s World Cup, when the team, under the captaincy of Graeme Smith, lost to New Zealand in the quarter-finals in Dhaka following a horrendous collapse.
However, with Gary Kirsten now coaching the side and turning them into the number one Test team, de Villiers believes that it is only a matter of time before the same happens for the Proteas in limited overs cricket.
“There are a lot of favourites, a lot of good teams and plenty of talent around, when the game is up for the taking, it’s up to the 11 guys there to take it away from the opposition. To handle pressure will be important,” de Villiers added.