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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 February, 2003, 10:15 GMT

Former SA players criticise team
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Cape Town

South Africans are used to self-analysis.

In the late 1990s, truth and reconciliation commissions sprung up around the country where former cricketers, often in tears, apologised for playing in all-white sides during the Apartheid years.

But now the country is facing a very different form of introspection.

As hosts - and expected finalists with Australia - South Africa are coming under unprecedented scrutiny by their countrymen for flirting with the embarrassment of a first-round exit.

He has proved - great bowler that he has been - that he is no longer capable of playing in the World Cup
Fanie DeVilliers on Allan Donald
The harshest critics, however, are proving to be former national cricketers.

The backlash after the country's defeats to the West Indies and New Zealand has been stinging.

Fanie DeVilliers reserved his vitriol for Allan Doland, his former opening bowling partner and one time idol, by asking: "Did the selectors play him to give him a final opportunity to prove himself?

"Or did the selectors play him so he could hang himself?"

Just in case anyone was in any doubt, DeVilliers answered the question himself.

"Well, it seems to me the latter was the case, because he has indeed now hung himself.

"He has proved - great bowler that he has been - that he is no longer capable of playing in the World Cup."

Adrian Kuiper, another former South Africa fast bowler, also had a pop at Donald, sniping: "I think it's the end of the road for him."

And Meryck Pringle, a key member of South Africa's first World Cup in 1991, said: "A bowler can have a bad day, but there have now been two really bad days in three games.

Indeed, all the bowlers - only a matter of weeks ago, or so we were being told, the second best in the world - are worthy of blame.

Donald may have disappeared for 52 runs in 5.5 overs against New Zealand, but Lance Klusener's 37 from five were hardly worthy of celebration.

Graham Ford, the former coach who was sacked after Australia's 5-1 "home and away" defeats to Australia last winter, pointed out: "The bowlers that we're using in this World Cup are essentially the same as we were using in England four years ago.

"The wear and tear is obviously going to take its toll and we simply don't have the firepower any more."

Innings of a lifetime

And then there is Mark Boucher.

"Has South Africa dropped the World Cup again?" asked a banner on the Johannesburg's Star newspaper, referring to the wicket-keeper's blunder against New Zealand at the Wanderers.

Stephen Fleming, on 53 at the time, went on to a match-winning 134 not out.

Fleming was hardly credited with playing the innings of a lifetime while the South African bowlers and keeper were hauled over the coals.

Heaven knows what the reaction will be if South Africa fail to make the next round.





Links to more South Africa stories


 

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