Every team loses, some more than others, but when a captain blasts his players for lack of energy and not giving hundred percent on the field, then something is wrong. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
Ab de Villiers is upset and disappointed with his team-mates and didn’t hold himself back.
Chasing 232, South Africa went from 67 for 1 at one stage to 106 for 7 in a dramatic phase of play where Pakistan swamped them. De Villiers felt Pakistan bowled well but was “not extraordinary” and put the blame on the batsman.
“They (Pakistan) were geared up and really wanted to win the game. You could see that from a mile away. I tried to get the boys going before the game. Didn’t feel like we had enough energy (in the warm-up time), and I guess that showed with the batting and just not prepared to find it out. And it’s very disappointing . I hate losing. I really do. So I have nothing good to say about the team at the moment. I’m very disappointed. Even though I scored some runs, I’m disappointed in my own performance. I should have finished it off.”
De Villiers was quick to own responsibility as a captain but it was clear that he wasn’t chuffed with the effort of his team.
“I’d like to think that as a captain who has played for quite a bit that no one should have an issue representing your country. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m not saying anyone didn’t have the energy. I didn’t feel any electric vibe at the warm-up. That is normally a bit of alarm bell going off for me. And secondly, it is my responsibility to try to get the guys going, which I couldn’t, so maybe I should take responsibility for that. I just could feel that nothing was really happening at a hundred percent. It was almost like a car that’s stuck in second or third gear, and that’s not going to win you cricket games, especially not under pressure and in big tournaments like this. So we need to have a chat about what maybe went wrong tonight and try to get to fifth gear again against the UAE.”
Too much for one man
At times, as it did on Saturday night, it seems like it’s a one-man team but de Villiers was quick to squash such thoughts. “I’ve got full faith in the ability of the players around me. That’s why they’re all here. I know I can’t win this World Cup alone.”
The questions about mental scars came up from a South African journalist. With this South African team, that question mark over their mental state seems never far away. “If we want to, we can make it really as bad as it is, we can make it worse than it is,” came a strange, but strong, message from the captain.
“I wouldn’t say there are any scars unless we create the scars ourselves. I truly believe there is nothing wrong with the batting lineup. So I wouldn’t say there are any scars. I really believe we can chase down any total at any time. It just didn’t happen tonight, and I honestly don’t have the answer for you.”
If they are to progress in this tournament, someone in the camp needs to find some answers soon.