Johannesburg, March 27 (IANS) Outgoing South Africa coach Corrie Van Zyl Sunday admitted that their perennial chokers tag creates pressure on the team and asked the fans to stand by the players in the wake of their shocking exit from the World Cup.
Van Zyl, who had already decided to step down after the World Cup, apologised to the fans but said the people should not use the chokers tag to address the team as it does not provide motivation to the players.
South Africa suffered a batting collapse and lost to New Zealand by 49 runs in the quarterfinals Friday.
“It’s important that everyone in South Africa sees the extra burden that is put on their team. The opposition see every opportunity to use the word ‘chokers’ on and off the field for one reason: to get at us mentally,” said Van Zyl.
“But when our own fans keep reminding us of the past, it doesn’t provide motivation, it just brings extra pressure. We need to deal with this in a different way as a nation, we need to stick together.
“Most of this squad were not part of the previous World Cup defeats, but the people make them a part of it.”
Van Zyl defended the composition of the squad and said it was the best that they could have had in the sub-continental conditions.
“I don’t think we needed anyone else apart from the 15 players we had there. For those conditions, it was the right 15, without question, and it was proven right through the World Cup. We played some seriously good cricket, barring 10 overs Friday night. In hindsight, I would have prepared the same way and had the same personnel.”
The defeat in Dhaka was South Africa’s fourth one in the knock-out stages of the World Cup. Van Zyl conceded that the team could not keep the composure when it mattered.
“Pressure is obviously a major thing in the World Cup and in the knockout rounds especially because you know it’s your last opportunity. It’s important to keep your composure and we weren’t able to do that. Maybe it was the burden of previous generations that caused us to lose composure,” he said.