Bell tolls for Proteas flops

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

NEW DELHI — The Mel­bourne Cricket Ground or rather “The G”. That was meant to be the Colos­seum where this group of Proteas’ were to con­firm their “Golden Gen­er­a­tion” sta­tus by win­ning the 2015 World Cup. They only got as far as Eden Park. Just over a year later the World T20 here in In­dia af­forded them an­other op­por­tu­nity to end a na­tion’s 18-year wait for a ma­jor ICC ti­tle. Their place in South African cricket his­tory would also have un­her­alded, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the hon­ours the ma­jor­ity of this side have al­ready achieved in the Test arena for the past decade.

But like when they first came to­gether at a ma­jor tour­na­ment way back at the 2011 World Cup here on the sub­con­ti­nent, there has only been one dis­ap­point­ment upon an­other since. This World T20 has been no dif­fer­ent with ear­lier de­feats to Eng­land and West Indies ren­der­ing Sun­day’s fi­nal Group 1 clash against Sri Lanka mean­ing­less.

In the af­ter­math of the Windies de­feat Proteas T20 cap­tain Faf du Plessis was par­tic­u­larly scathing of the se­nior core within his team, say­ing: “The dif­fer­ence in get­ting across the line in big games is when big play­ers step up”.

Time is surely run­ning out for the likes of AB de Vil­liers (32), Hashim Amla (32), Dale Steyn (32), Im­ran Tahir (36), Du Plessis (31) and JP Du­miny (32) to “step up” when it mat­ters most. They have al­ready lost warhorses like Graeme Smith and Jac­ques Kal­lis to re­tire­ment ahead of the 2015 World Cup, while Morne Morkel was con­sid­ered sur­plus to re­quire­ments for this World T20 and is be­lieved to be now con­sid­er­ing his lim­ited-overs fu­ture.

De Vil­liers has al­ready spo­ken of “manag­ing his work­load” go­ing ahead, which could pos­si­bly mean cutting out one for­mat from his ever-in­creas­ing play­ing sched­ule. Con­sid­er­ing he holds the po­si­tion of Proteas Test and ODI cap­tain, it is more than likely to be T20 In­ter­na­tion­als.

Amla and T20 cricket has also never been a per­fect fit, while Steyn has been car­ry­ing drinks at this World T20 since the open­ing game against Eng­land. Du­miny’s high in­jury count of late will too surely be source of re­flec­tion which could see the all-rounder con­sider his fu­ture, al­though it is more than likely that he will pre­fer the shorter for­mats over the ex­er­tions of first-class cricket.

Amla, how­ever, brushed aside the sug­ges­tions that there could soon be a clearout of the Proteas dress­in­groom as the mo­ti­va­tion un­ques­tion­ably re­mains strong to not fol­low in the foot­steps of Eng­land football’s ‘Golden Gen­er­a­tion’, who un­der coach Sven-go­ran Eriks­son were lit­tered with big-name play­ers but ul­ti­mately never won a ma­jor tro­phy dur­ing the mid-200s.

“The team is al­ways go­ing to have a few mem­bers leave and a few mem­bers fill­ing their po­si­tions as the years go by and we are see­ing that hap­pen­ing. As far as this be­ing “Golden Gen­er­a­tion” we of­ten joke about it. If you look at the 1999 (Proteas) team that lost in the semi-fi­nal, peo­ple would say that was a golden gen­er­a­tion be­cause they had such ex­cep­tional play­ers. We are just hop­ing that we keep do­ing well and that when we get to a World Cup or an ICC Tro­phy, ev­ery­thing fits in re­ally well where we can play our best cricket,” Amla ex­plained to the me­dia at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground yes­ter­day.

The for­mer Proteas Test skip­per be­lieved that an­other chance to end the heartache is not that far away though, cit­ing the 2017 Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land. LIVER LIVER­POOL — It’s a time-hon­oured, drear drea­rily pre­dictable saga that snares man many of the Premier League’s best fore for­eign im­ports.

A want­away star goes on in­ter­nati na­tional duty to his na­tive coun­try an and for­gets the art of diplo­macy re re­gard­ing his fu­ture.

The player pauses due re­spect t to his cur­rent club and talks more f freely about his am­bi­tions seem­ingly obliv­i­ous to the fact it will be re­ported just as if he’d said it bac back in the UK. There w was a time they could mount the “com­ments“com­ment mis­trans­lated” de­fence.

But to jaded sup­port­ers familiar with the danc dance now, that time is long gone.

So wh what of Everton fans and Romelu Lukaku Lukaku, af­ter he dusted off his danc­ing shoes a and spoke of want­ing Cham­pi­ons League football on Fri­day ?

Not to men­tion his dad get­ting the ball rolling w with some un­savoury spec­u­la­tion over who his son should join next.

Will he now be sub­jected to bar­rack­ing and fury f from fans long-suf­fer­ing in this

“There is Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy next year and we are still ex­tremely keen to play in­ter­na­tional cricket. A lot of us feel that there are still a few years left in us. It would be great for us to get to the next 50 overs World Cup which would be ideal. But we will take it as it comes, as long as you’re fit and healthy and scor­ing runs and war­rant your po­si­tion in the team then we can go on,” Amla ex­plained.

How­ever, be­fore such long-term plan­ning can take place Amla and his team­mates will trend? Well, ac­tu­ally, prob­a­bly not. A poll on Satur­day re­sulted in 79% of Blues say­ing they ex­pect the 25-goal for­ward to leave Good­i­son in the sum­mer.

But the true re­flec­tion of their com­ments since is not one of anger at Lukaku.

If any­thing there is sym­pa­thy for a striker who, at times, has car­ried a badly un­der­per­form­ing team this term.

The ma­jor­ity of Ever­to­ni­ans are more con­cerned by the club’s fail­ure to com­pete for the top four place which could re­ally give Lukaku food for thought about stay­ing on Mersey­side,

In­stead a team of play­ers which, on pa­per at least, should be in that mix are slumped in 12th, level on points with Bournemouth; a side most ex­pected to be fight­ing for their lives.

It’s true that the ire of the Blue faith­ful is fo­cus­ing on an in­di­vid­ual for this sorry plight, but it’s not Lukaku - even if his com­ments are un­help­ful.

The prob­lem for many re­mains Roberto Martinez .

Such is the un­rest over his team’s fail­ings this sea­son, he will bear the brunt of the anger for any­thing that goes wrong be­tween now and May. — Liver­pool Echo need to find the men­tal strength to fo­cus on a game that means noth­ing in the con­text of this tour­na­ment. Both teams have al­ready been elim­i­nated and are strug­gling with in­juries to key play­ers. The Proteas will not risk play­ing Du­miny as he is still busy with his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme on his in­jured ham­string, while Sri Lanka will fol­low suit in re­gards to cap­tain An­gelo Matthews, who too hurt his ham­string dur­ing his epic knock against Eng­land on Satur­day. — IOL LON­DON — Big-spend­ing Manch­ester United must al­ways con­tinue their tra­di­tion of bring­ing through play­ers from the youth academy, as­sis­tant man­ager Ryan Giggs has said.

The 20-times English cham­pi­ons have en­dured a stut­ter­ing cam­paign by their high stan­dards and sit sixth in the league, are al­ready out of Europe but re­tain hope in the FA Cup ahead of a sixth round re­play with West Ham United next month.

United man­ager Louis Van Gaal has brought through a num­ber of academy play­ers this term, such as striker Mar­cus Rash­ford, but the Dutch coach has been tipped by Bri­tish me­dia to make way for for­mer Chelsea boss Jose Mour­inho next sea­son.

Giggs said fu­ture United man­agers should re­spect the club’s his­tory for pro­mot­ing from within.

“I think it will al­ways be part of the club’s phi­los­o­phy. It’s part of the his­tory, it’s what sets us apart from other teams,” Giggs told the club’s web­site (www.manutd.com).

“Yes, we can bring world-class play­ers in from around the world but we want one of our own to be per­form­ing on that Old Traf­ford pitch... we need play­ers to come through the ranks. That’s a mas­sive part of the United his­tory.”

United, 16 points back of lead­ers Le­ices­ter City, host Everton in league ac­tion on Sun­day. — Reuters

SOUTH Africa Proteas’ T20 cap­tain Faf du Plessis.

Bel­gium and everton striker Romelu lukaku

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