Body language has been one of the South African cricket team’s most effective means of communication through the years, but it has been poor during the World Cup, according to former all-round star Lance Klusener.
‘Zulu’ Klusener, with his heavy, bludgeoning bat and his aggressive fast bowling, was the most physically imposing player of the 1999 World Cup, the last time the event was played in England, and he was deservedly named player of the tournament even though South Africa exited at the semi-final stage.
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While the vagaries of form can prevent a team from scoring enough runs or taking enough wickets, body language is one of those “controllables” players are so fond of talking about and there is no excuse for the often limp displays the Proteas have put up in the field.
“I am a long way off, but the fielding has been poor, definitely not to our usual standards and that has been disappointing. They’re a much better team than we’ve seen at the World Cup but we have not seen good body language and I have not heard any good chat. It’s been exceptionally disappointing. The guys need to stand up now and get rid of any insecurities.
“It’s up to the captain and coaching staff now – let’s see some good body language and strong talk out on the field. The World Cup isn’t for sissies, you’re up against the very best in the world and if there are any doubts or weaknesses in your side then they get exposed. Sure, they had a tough start against some good teams, but they went there to win the World Cup and to do that you need to beat the best,” Klusener told The Citizen from Pakistan, where he is doing TV work on the tournament, on Wednesday.
While Klusener was willing to give the attack a pass mark for their efforts so far, he laid into the Proteas batting.
“The bowling has been okay, pretty solid, they’ve been unfortunate with injuries, especially Dale Steyn going home and they will miss him. But the batsmen need to score some runs and the big players need to stand up. Unfortunately Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock have not been able to produce the goods and Faf du Plessis has been very disappointing.
“The batsmen are just not putting scores on the board. It is tough up front but you need to get through the first 10 overs and then you can put up a big score. The performance has been really disappointing from a batting point of view, but the cracks have been there for a while and what’s happened is they’ve been exposed. Of course we’re missing AB de Villiers but that’s another story,” Klusener said.