Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe believes South Africa must find a way to “breed strong tough-minded cricketers” in the wake of the Proteas disappointing World Cup campaign.
Speaking at a KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar, Moroe was certainly not impressed with the national team’s failure to secure progression to the playoff stages here in the United Kingdom. The Proteas have won just two of their eight matches heading into the final round-robin encounter with Australia at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Moroe even pointed to the Australians, who have recovered superbly from their dramatic meltdown last year when their captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended for ball-tampering, to head the World Cup table.
He also laid the blame at the door of Kolpak cricketers that have left the country to pursue contracts on the English County Championship after previously representing the Proteas.
"I think it's a systematic thing and it's not necessarily a psychological thing for cricketers. I think for me is how do we tweak one or two things in our system to make sure that we breed strong tough-minded cricketers," Moroe told the media.
"We've had individuals who don't get picked in a team and instead of giving themselves one more season... or putting the numbers in asked by the selectors or coach... they'll rather go Kolpak.
"It's just needing to find a way of tweaking the system and breeding strong cricketers. If you look at a team like Australia... after the saga that they had to go through in Cape Town... the team was down and out for a couple of months but if you look at them today it doesn't look the same team and it's mentally because Australians are tough.
"You see it with David Warner and Steve Smith walking in to bat, being booed every day and every day they are putting up their hands saying, 'We don't care'."
Moroe also believes the Proteas were certainly skilled enough to compete with the rest of the teams at the World Cup, but were not mentally equipped to deal with the pressures associated with the high-profile tournament.
"If I didn't feel disappointment I wouldn't be patriotic. We are disappointed, we were hoping for far better results but things didn't go our way. The guys tried as hard as they could to string up a few performances," Moroe said.
"It was frustrating witnessing the body language of our team and how we managed to get some of the simplest things wrong but having said that we just need to find better ways of dealing with pressure."