I am properly grumpy. I went to Newlands for the second innings of the third ODI yesterday and it felt like the Proteas were like me; all they did was arrive at the venue, not a thing more.
Really, on our way to the car last night R and I were in deep discussion. R suggested that had the Proteas won we would have felt different but I disagreed. It would have felt like an unjustified win. They deserved the loss. There is no other way to describe their performance but shockingly terrible. The Indian team didn’t have to do anything spectacular; the players just had to stick around and play a few good shots.
Now for all those ‘Proteas through thick and thin’ supporters out there, let me say at the outset that there were fabulous moments. One or two great balls bowled, one or two great catches, one or two saving moments; but theses took place in a sea of total disaster. I am going to list all the problems here in no particular order.
1. The fielding. Sorry, but do the Poepteas not actually have a fielding coach? The fielding this whole season has been a little less than mediocre, but last night’s fielding performance was a case study of how not to field. Dropped catches, misjudging the ball, bad running, bad calling, no accurate throwing, and a generally an air of indifference and apathy. Sies. Also, there was an abundance of that hand pointing motion that is my all time worst. The one where the ball sails past the fielder, who doesn’t move to get it but who gestures to the man on the boundary in a ‘it’s got your name written on it’ way. I cannot begin to explain how that ‘it’s not my responsibility’ action makes me see red! In fact, I think that in any game where there are more than three of those hand pointings, we are done for. Last night being a case in point (excuse the awful pun).
2. The captaincy. I am not denying Graeme Smith‘s skill as a batsman (when all of his fingers are fixed) but the guy has very little feeling for leading an ODI. Let him play his natural game and get someone (whose name is Hasheeeeeeeeeeem) to captain the side, gee up the boys, position the field, choose the bowlers and everything else that Graeme is just not managing as a captain. There. I’ve said it. His choice of field, bowlers, and energy and attitude on the field was beyond poor.
3. Teamwork. Pathetic. No support, encouragement, working together. The bowlers were on their own. They were totally unsupported. I would have lost it completely. As far as I was concerned Tsotsobe and Amla were the only two out there earning their salaries. It’s not good enough by a mile.
4. Attitude. This team literally gave up. No fighting spirit, no back against the wall comeback, no energy at all. The players attitude stank. There was no passion, no enthusiasm, no explosion of commitment. It was a dreary little affair. I would have forgiven them their loss if they had actually tried a little harder.
5. Lack of accountability. Sorry, but losing is somebody’s fault, problem, challenge. It’s not like the Proteas gave their best and were totally out classed on the field. They didn’t take responsibility for the game.
6. Spin bowlers. Will somebody please explain to somebody else in charge, and to Graeme Smith, that SA needs a proper spin bowler? Somebody good, like Harbhajan Singh. It’s not rocket science.
I was upset last night that I had made the effort to go and support my team. I (well my friend actually) paid good money to see them perform, which means that they need to do more than just arrive at the ground. Not cricket.