Johannesburg – Strongly believing otherwise going into the ICC Champions Trophy, Proteas captain AB de Villiers said it was possible the team was not good enough from the outset.
“We went into the semifinal against England with a very positive mindset, but we did not adapt quickly enough and got out to some very poor shots,” De Villiers said on arrival from London at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport on Friday.
“Maybe we are not as good as we thought we were before we went into the tournament.”
England thrashed the Proteas in the Champions Trophy semifinal at the Oval on Wednesday.
The hosts won by seven wickets with more than 12 overs to spare in a heavily one-sided affair.
After their dismal performance, outgoing coach Gary Kirsten dared to use the word chokers. The term was first associated with the South Africans after their close encounter against Australia in the semi-final of the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Since then, the team had worked hard to remove the label from their vocabulary and to overcome the psychological barrier preventing them reaching a one-day final.
“It’s a horrible word, an uncomfortable word, but you’ve got to become comfortable with it. You’ve got accept that’s what it is,” Kirsten said after Wednesday’s match.
The skipper had a different view of the match and the use of the word.
“I don’t get upset hearing the word and it’s not an issue in the team,” De Villiers said.
“I believe you have to be in a winning position before you can choke and we were never in that position against England. We collapsed as a top order and put the rest of the guys under pressure.”
He said it was positive to see the way the younger members of the squad performed. Seeing the players, who had risen through the ranks of the SA 'A' squad, perform so admirably at international level, gave him hope that South African cricket was healthy. – Sapa