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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 12:26 GMT
Time for a tough decision
Allan Donald
By Allan Donald
South Africa fast bowler

To be knocked out as a result of two tied matches in two World Cups is just heart-breaking, and to be sitting helpless on Monday night made it even worse.

There was mayhem in the middle, as the rain came as a real surprise after a clear day.

Mark Boucher was convinced we only needed 229 to beat Sri Lanka, although we knew in the dressing-room we needed one more, and we might even have got out again to finish the job.

But we know from past experience there is nothing we can do to change what has happened - and we certainly cannot make excuses.

I am leaning heavily towards retirement from international cricket

I am still convinced the team we had could have beaten any side if it had fired, but we have not played well throughout the tournament and in a way the rain served to put us out of our misery.

What happened at the end overshadowed what had set itself up as a magnificent game, and Sri Lanka must be relieved to get through it.

I said over the last week I was feeling like my old self again, and Shaun said as much the day before, but he then came to me that evening and said I had been left out - I was stunned.

I got the feeling Shaun and the coaches wanted me in but they only have so much power on the selection committee.

I thought I would have found someone to back me.

I felt just how I did during the 1996 World Cup, when I was left out of the quarter-final and we were thrashed by the West Indies.

Mark Boucher
Boucher thought he had done enough
It is being unable to contribute that hurts most. I'm usually pretty hard on myself and it's a difficult fact to swallow that I have never really contributed in this World Cup.

I will make a final announcement in the next few days, but I am leaning heavily towards retirement from international cricket.

There were suggestions of staying on for the tour of England but this is probably the right time to bow out.

As for the rest of the side, the public and the media are obviously taking chunks out of us at the moment, and looking for someone to blame, but I hope people are sensible.

Cricket careers have got to go on - we cannot just throw people on the scrapheap purely on the basis of a bad tournament - because someone has not bowled well or kept well.

We have a captain in Shaun Pollock who can continue to do the job and we have to build on the guys who played a part in the World Cup.

As for the rest of the tournament, I cannot see anyone other than Australia winning - we knew all along that they would be our biggest obstacle - and I reckon they will play India in the final.




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