De Villiers wants his team to prove to him that they are not chokers
Just a few days ago, South Africa captain AB de Villiers denied allegations that his team were “chokers”, but after being knocked out in the super 8s stages of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, de Villiers has admitted that his team had in fact “choked”.
Despite his hatred of the word, de Villiers believed sometimes it was best to say what had to be said, and he hopes this will ignite a fire in the bellies of his team-mates to prove him wrong next time.
“In the big moments, in the pressure moments, when it really mattered, we were found wanting, in that Pakistan game, we should have closed that down. We know that. It’s simple to say, but we choked that game. That’s a simple fact. We’ve got to go back and become a better team and there are no excuses,” de Villiers said.
South Africa have choked in the past, the most notable instance coming in the 2011 ICC World Cup, where the Proteas lost to New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
De Villiers did not give any excuse like the team struggled with the conditions, and instead put South Africa’s departure from the tournament down to the entire squad under-performing.
South Africa seemed to be enjoying the pitch conditions in Hambantota, but not so much so in Premadasa, which is where many cricket pundits believe the Proteas struggled to achieve any real momentum, but de Villiers once again denied these allegations.
“I thought we played well in Hambantota, but I don’t think it was the conditions here really, we just didn’t play good cricket, it started off against Pakistan when we got into a winning position and we found a way to lose that game. We still didn’t give up hope and worked really hard. We came back against Australia and we were beaten by a better unit on that day. We tried really hard again today, but it just didn’t really click in this tournament. It’s hard to put my finger on something – we just played poor cricket throughout,” de Villiers added.
South Africa’s exit in the super 8s stages shocked many cricket pundits and fans alike since they had just come off an intense series against England, where the Twenty20 series was drawn 1-1.
However, what was even more disappointing was the sloppy fielding since the Proteas are usually regarded as one of the top fielding sides in the world.
After dropping a couple of catches in each game and giving away runs through mis-fields and extras, it really wasn’t that shocking when South Africa lost all three of their super 8 matches against Australia, Pakistan and India.
“It wasn’t ideal. Unfortunately we let a couple of catches go down and we have done that in the whole tournament actually. It happens a little in this format when the ball flies all over the place, you do see a couple of catches go down. But that’s no excuse, we’re a better fielding unit than that,” de Villiers said.
South Africa will now be hoping to improve on their areas of concern and get some much-needed rest before heading to Australia for a three Test series starting on November 9 in Brisbane.
“We felt very well supported in this tournament and that’s the thing that hurts most. The South African media and people back home expect a lot more from us, and unfortunately this time we couldn’t deliver. It’s not time to give up hope. The guys have performed in the past and that’s showed me that I can’t lose my faith,” de Villiers said.