Johannesburg - The pressures of professional cricket in this day and age are unimaginable. The media and broadcasting companies have taken professional sport to a whole new level.
The best tournaments in the world reach hundreds of millions of viewers around the globe and social media has taken things up a notch.
The ongoing Indian Premier League is an excellent example of how fans around the world get involved in the game by taking to social media to their share views and reactions on the games.
The upcoming World Cup is most certainly going to set new records especially with it being held in India where a billion people will be keenly watching the games.
“During the 2011 World Cup social media was at its infancy stage, I think now everything will be even more exaggerated,” Robin Peterson told IOL Sport.
“There’ll be more media and broadcast attention around the tournament. Back then it felt like it (high pressure), now it will feel like that even more.”
Franchise cricket such as the IPL has made all this pressure and intensity in games of cricket almost a norm for players.
In the IPL, passionate fans fill up the stadiums in almost every match, creating high-pressure environments for players to up their games and execute accurately.
Players with big match temperaments are not fazed by all the pressure.
Instead they always look forward to playing in these environments because it pushes them to reach heights they themselves could not have imagined.
With all this in mind, Peterson expects key Proteas players to be well-prepared for all the pressure and expectation that will come at the World Cup in October.
“For me there’s probably only two places you’d like to play World Cup cricket, I think the last one was in England.
“India is at the pinnacle of cricket at the moment and you could probably say they are the home of cricket now. You’re always in the public eye and everything you do is news.
“The players are used to all the pressure because a lot of our key players play in the IPL. They are used to that scrutiny, that type of intensity in which the fans react to games and the intensity of the cricket itself.”
South Africa’s 2011 World Cup squad had what it took to go all the way in that tournament and had special performances throughout.
Peterson highlighted captain Graeme Smith’s tactical creativity and the fact that every squad member brought good form into that World Cup, as the strength of that team.
He also mentioned how competition within the squad played a key role in every player elevating their games.
“As much as it’s important to back players, there has to be an element of competition for spots within the squad. That’s what keeps everyone sharp and, on their toes, working hard,” said Peterson.
“Everyone was in form in the bowling attack more importantly. Everyone was bowling well and we had bowling options right through. The captain could throw the ball to anyone and be a threat. I think that was the strength of that team.
“We also batted deep you know… We had two spinning all-rounders in Johan Botha and myself and that really lengthened our batting.
“We got creative, I mean we had spinners opening the bowling and we were bowling spin at different points of the game where we wouldn’t in the past. I think it is the one World Cup where we got creative and we kept the opposition guessing.”
The coaching staff of the Proteas white-ball team has also had a taste of World Cup cricket.
Batting coach JP Duminy has been to three World Cups (2011, 2015 and 2019), while head coach Rob Walter was involved in the 2011 World Cup.
Current Proteas players will lean on all that experience.
“Rob Walter was at the 2011 World Cup too as our fitness trainer. He’s got experience around India and he’s worked in the IPL.
“I think what will be important for him will be getting the team to gel together as a group.”