Proteas stumped by an­other poor show­ing

CityPress - - Sport - CHRISTO BUCHNER sports@city­press.co.za

An­other tour­na­ment. An­other dis­ap­point­ment.

South African cricket sim­ply can­not carry on this way, stag­ger­ing from one fi­asco to the next.

On Fri­day, the team led by AB de Vil­liers suf­fered an ut­terly dis­ap­point­ing de­feat at the hands of the West Indies in Barbados, los­ing by an enor­mous 100 runs and be­ing bun­dled out of the Tri­an­gu­lar se­ries in the process.

The Windies and Aus­tralia will to­day go head to head in the fi­nal.

Af­ter fast bowler Kag­iso Rabada (3/31) had the West Indies with their backs against the wall on 21/4, they were al­lowed to fight back and dash South Africa’s fi­nal hope.

The Windies were per­mit­ted to get a score of 285 and South Africa was bowled out for just 185.

“The play­ers have to shoul­der the blame for this de­feat,” ad­mit­ted De Vil­liers yes­ter­day.

“Not enough of us put our hands up in this se­ries … in­clud­ing my­self,” he said.

The cap­tain tried to shield his em­bat­tled coach, Rus­sell Domingo, and the rest of the coach­ing staff from crit­i­cism by con­ced­ing the team had let them down.

“We have an amaz­ing coach­ing team and they worked very hard, with in­tense prac­tice ses­sions, but on the field it comes down to in­di­vid­u­als not step­ping up,” said De Vil­liers.

“We had the Windies in a cor­ner in this match, but we couldn’t round it off. It is very dis­ap­point­ing,” he said.

The ques­tion is, how much longer can per­for­mances like th­ese be tol­er­ated? Get­ting your op­po­nent’s top four bats­men out for less than 30 runs and then al­low­ing them to turn around and give you a bloody nose by scor­ing an­other 250 runs is an in­dict­ment against the team, which says that it doesn’t have the char­ac­ter to turn big mo­ments into vic­to­ries.

Surely, enough must now be enough.

It’s all good and well for De Vil­liers to back Domingo and com­pany but the re­al­ity is that he doesn’t make the grade as a coach. The same goes for his aides.

The fact that De Vil­liers is a bril­liant player – not that he showed it dur­ing this se­ries – doesn’t make him a good cap­tain.

His lack of ex­pe­ri­ence as a cap­tain at any level of cricket prior to be­ing ap­pointed cap­tain of South Africa is ob­vi­ous enough for any­one to see.

The na­tional team is now also pay­ing the price for the amount of cricket its best play­ers are play­ing in the In­dian Premier League (IPL) and var­i­ous other T20 se­ries around the world.

Some­body like De Vil­liers looked cricket-weary in this se­ries and the same is true of Quin­ton de Kock, JP Du­miny, Hashim Amla and Chris Morris.

None of them was a shadow of the elec­tri­fy­ing play­ers one saw in the IPL.

In ad­di­tion, some of them, De Vil­liers in­cluded, are also play­ing in the Caribbean T20 se­ries next month.

Then they’ll scarcely be back in South Africa be­fore play­ing a Test se­ries against New Zealand in Au­gust.

Some­where, some­one will have to in­ter­vene in the in­ter­est of South African cricket, but it seems shoul­ders are merely be­ing shrugged.

PHOTO: LEE WAR­REN / GALLO IM­AGES

CHAT Proteas skip­per AB de Vil­liers has a pep talk with Kag­iso Rabada

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