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It’s nice that perception of Proteas has changed a little bit, says Rob Walter

Temba Bavuma (L) and Reeza Hendricks (R) sign autographs for Proteas fans

The Proteas are receiving an improved perception ahead of the Cricket World Cup. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Oct 1, 2023


The Proteas were one of the underrated teams earlier this year despite winning a One Day International series over current world champions England in February.

They had the unexpected resignation of head coach Mark Boucher – leaving the team in a bit of disarray with under a year remaining to the World Cup.

Under new coaches Shukri Conrad (Tests) and Rob Walter (T20I and ODI), the team made significant strides to be a formidable unit across all formats.

The Proteas went on to return almost flawless results – remaining undefeated in each ODI series since the beginning of the year.

Following their emphatic victory over Australia two weeks ago, the team is now rated in the top-four of the 10-team World Cup campaign.

“I don’t listen too much to commentary, but things must have changed because a few weeks ago, we were six to eight (favourites to win the World Cup), so it’s nice that the perception has changed of the team a little bit,” Walter told the media of the high rating the team have received after beating Australia 3-2 at home.

“The expectations of the team never change. South Africans are proud sports people – a proud cricket-loving nation. They want to see the team do well. Everyone has this burning desire to see us win a World Cup trophy.

“The most important thing is, we’re building up to day one, we need to hit the ground running in game one.

“This World Cup I think will be incredibly tight... I think anyone can beat anyone on the day.

“For us, it’s really about making sure we rock up each day, starting with our preparation now, and then when Sri Lanka arrive for the first official game, we take that game as our first building block towards hopefully something significant at the end.”

South Africa will face New Zealand tomorrow (10.30am SA time start) at Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram in what will be the side’s last warm-up match following Friday’s rained-out fixture against Afghanistan.

Walter wants the team to focus on accomplishing their goals in the warm-up match in order to ensure the South Africans are good to go for the first World Cup encounter against Sri Lanka on October 7 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

“From our point of view, it’s really important to put warm-up games into context,” said Walter.

“We need to get out of it what we need. The most important one is to keep playing well with our brand.

“We’ll certainly be looking to make sure we get the max out of that fixture as we possibly can.”

Only four days remain until the start of the tournament in India, where South African captain Temba Bavuma will hope to bring home their first World Cup title.