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Former South African skipper Graeme Smith has expressed disappointment over the way the Proteas team succumbed to the pressure in the encounter against India.
“I still care deeply about the environment that I spent so much time building as a player, and it hurts to see such an unrecognisable South Africa performance,” Smith wrote in his column for the ICC. “The side have been missing that spark or that intensity to their play that characterizes South Africa cricket. The positivity to our play and the energy that we’ve come to expect from this group of players just hasn’t been there,” he wrote.
Commenting on the approach of the side, he said, “What I would have liked to have seen from the guys at the top of the order is, at least, an attempt to put Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar under pressure. Anything to put them off their game and bring their plans into question,” and added, “Our approach was far more conservative, and if you’re going to play that way, you can’t afford the calamities that unfolded in terms of the two mid-innings run outs. They will kill any momentum you have, and suck the energy from a dressing room,” he opined.
“Today, those key moments in the game where you look for someone to take the initiative just seemed to pass South Africa by. India played the game with more intensity, it took more risks and stuck to its method and game formula far better than the South Africa team,” he explained.
“Mindset and your approach to the game are those one percent factors that make the difference at this level. When those factors are not there, you pay the price and it’s the team’s approach that has been the missing ingredient,” he concluded.