South African team should learn from Viv Richards

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 05:10 hrs

Though one might admit it in private, I feel it’s a very rare thing for the coach of a team to say in a press conference that his team “choked”. Gary Kirsten is a renowned and a proven coach. His stint with the Indian team was very successful, and had he not said that he wanted to spend more time with his family back home, he would have still continued to coach the Indian team. Such was his popularity not only with the bosses in the BCCI but among the players as well.

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The South Africans lived up to its tag of being ‘chokers’. The bigger the occasion, worse is their performance. It’s hard to understand why a team that boasts some of the finest talent keep faltering at the last hurdle, and mind you, it hasn’t happened now but it’s been happening for almost two decades. How many big tournaments have they won so far? You could count them on your fingertips if any.

We all know it is a mental game out there in the middle. As Viv Richards said recently that even when he was feeling low on confidence while going into bat, he made sure he never showed it to the opponents. His body language was and always looked positive and he sent the right signals to the opposition that he was there to dominate and score runs.

These days, teams have a dedicated psychologist to motivate the players and to make sure they are in the proper frame of mind before and during the big games. I guess the Proteas need to work more on their mental attitude rather than their skills.

England on the other hand is on song. They picked themselves up very well after their loss against the Sri Lankans. Sure, they are playing at home and are high on confidence, but their bowlers did a fabulous job of using the freshness in the wicket and choking the Proteas.

And their batsmen, especially Jonathan Trott and Joe Root, made sure the opposition did not have a chance to raise their head at any stage of the game. They won with clinical precision as the Proteas, it seemed, were devoid of ideas and more so the will to fight.

Like Trott, one is bound to hear more of Joe Root in the future. A tremendous talent, Root is fast developing into a fine batsman. To say that he would be the mainstay of England batting in time to come would be an understatement!  

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