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Instead of feeling pressure, we see it as an opportunity - Proteas’ Tabraiz Shamsi

Proteas cricketers Tabraiz Shamsi and Temba Bavuma celebrate a wicket

Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has always backed the quality of this Proteas team, and says they are eager to perform under pressure in the Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia on Thursday. Seen here: Tabraiz Shamsi (l) and Temba Bavuma (r). Picture: Abhjit Adya/Shutterstock

Published Nov 14, 2023


From the outset, Proteas leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been one of the few players who has been vocal about the abundance of quality in the Proteas team.

Even when South Africa were 2-0 down in a five-match ODI series against Australia in September, Shamsi backed the Proteas to make a comeback in what would have been a daunting press-conference room following a second consecutive defeat at the Mangaung Oval.

And when the team completed the 3-2 series heist at The Bullring, Shamsi did not shy away from showing his unshakeable belief and trust in his teammates.

“I have a lot of confidence in my teammates, the management and myself as well. That’s the reason why I’ve always been vocal about it,” Shamsi told Independent media during a practice session in Kolkata on Monday.

“Maybe people from the outside haven’t been able to see or didn’t want to see the quality that we have within the group. We have just gone on quietly doing our work because we do believe that we can do it.”

Painful history

South African men’s teams have a rather painful memory of Cricket World Cup knockouts, where time and again the self-destructing nature has seemed to revive itself from deep within each player.

Shamsi told Independent Media that the past has no effect whatsoever on the current crop of players as they are a different bunch from any other Proteas World Cup team.

“That doesn’t matter one bit, we’re a different group of players. Before we got to the World Cup, nobody said that we’d be in the semi-final and here we are. We’re just excited for the opportunity,” he said.

“That’s what propels this team - instead of feeling pressure, we see it as an opportunity to do something special. No South African men’s team has been in the World Cup final and that for us is very exciting because it is an opportunity to do something that no other team has done.

“Instead of it being restricting to the guys, I think it’s going to make the guys be even more free flowing than they have been because we’re aiming to do something that no men’s team from our country has been able to do.”

Reaching the semi-final alone is quite an achievement for this group of players, a group that took the last automatic qualification spot to squeeze their way into the showpiece event.

It’s an achievement that the 2019 World Cup squad could not match despite having star players such as the then captain Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and also Shamsi to name a few.

Form is everything

“In that competition we had a lot of our guys that were just out of form, unfortunately it happened during the World Cup,” said Shamsi.

“We had a great team – so many guys in the top 10 batters list, so many guys in the top 10 bowlers list – but we just had a lot of players that happened to be out of form at the wrong time during the World Cup.

“Whereas now as we’ve seen there’s been different guys putting their hands up. There’s no pressure on any single individual to win it for the team – we’re all doing it together.

“The greatest strength of this team – we just worry about making sure that we’re doing our bit and have the trust that the next guy is going to do his bit.”

Trust in each other will certainly be a big factor at the Eden Gardens on Thursday and the mighty Australians, boasting with five World Cup trophies, will come for the kill in the second semi-final.


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