While it is true that South Africa’s international cricket team has made great strides in the recent past, even overthrowing long reigning Australia from the top spot for the ICC’s rankings for ODI cricket, but the fact is that the team is still to win a major title in international cricket. This is something skipper Graeme Smith is hoping to rectify this T20 World Cup.
Long have the South African had to battle the ‘Chokers’ tag as they have often been called in the cricket news, and many are the tournament finals wherein they have been found wanting; being unable at the final instance to go the distance and grab the big prize. The South Africans have a come a long way in the past year or so, and are currently the number one ODI team in international cricket and will be hoping that the end result of the T20 World Cup will also reflect that number one status.
Having won a good portion of recently played series, including defeating Australia in Australia, this is a talented, well knit and upbeat team that is confident of its own abilities, with the result that skipper Graeme Smith is hopeful of a favourable result this T20 World Cup. "We have had an incredible period in the last 16 months and the team has achieved so much.
The confidence is good and we are excited about playing this tournament with the chance to go out and express ourselves. I think there is a lot more talent, flair and confidence among this team than ever before," he was quoted as saying in the cricket news.
Smith is also of the view that the IPL experience in South Africa was beneficial for the South Africans who participated. "A lot of our players had prominent roles in a number of the teams, which probably wouldn't have happened if it had been in India, and they had good leadership roles among their teams," he said.
Another factor touched upon by RSA skipper Smith while talking in the cricket news was the subject of Jacques Kallis and the fact that he was controversially not part of the South African squad in the last T20 World Cup. This time around, Kallis, with his valuable recent experience with the T20 format in the IPL, will be looking to make helpful contributions to his team this World Cup. "Jacques is the one player who arrives here with a point to prove," Smith said. "He had a decent performance in the IPL so is confidence his high and tactically how we use him is important. He's an all-rounder and needs to contribute in all forms."
Smith himself had a lean run with the bat in the IPL, and will also have his own personal points to make in the World Cup. Aware that fatigue is probably the biggest issue faced and that many players will be feeling jaded, Smith is still confident of his team making a good showing.