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Is AB de Villiers a bit too South African to be the South African captain?

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AB de Villiers_South Africa_cricketOver the weekend the Proteas lost to Pakistan. It was not expected prior to the match as Pakistan have been pretty piss poor so far, getting hammered by India and the West Indies and only just getting the better of Zimbabwe. But when the final wicket fell and Pakistan’s bowlers rounded off an impressive 29 run win, it wasn’t completely surprising.

The Proteas are to chasing what the BCCI are to transparency and fair play. They have chased twice in this World Cup, and twice they have been found wanting.

But captain AB de Villiers, the supremely gifted and talented AB de Villiers, is adamant that the Proteas, despite this rather fundamental problem, is still the best team in the World Cup. This sounds a little too familiar doesn’t it? Cast your mind back a few months when the Proteas were last in Australia, they lost the 5 match ODI series 1-4, and you know what AB said back then?

“We were the better side…”

So, a couple of things at play here. AB perhaps doesn’t quite grasp the concept of ‘better’ and/or ‘best’, and if this is the case, is he actually fit to captain a national cricket team, in a World Cup?

The answer is no, but this is because AB is sadly a little too South African to be the South African ODI captain. You see, down here in SA, we always expect our sports team (except football) to be the best, and when they don’t win it is generally always the fault of something other than the obvious. That reason though is that we often just aren’t good enough.

For so long South Africans in general have been a bit delusional about their ODI team. In 1992 the rain robbed us of the World Cup, in 1996 we simply ran into the West Indies on a rare good day, in 1999 the Aussies simply got lucky, in 2003 the rain robbed us again, in 2007 the Aussies got lucky again, and in 2011, well the Kiwis didn’t play fair.

 

Then there is the ‘choke’ thing which has been blown up more than Yuvraj Singh’s IPL price. It’s almost become a convenient excuse for failure. The ‘choke’ is nothing more than a joke, and it detracts from the fact, the Proteas have simply not been good enough when it has mattered most.

The vast majority of SA fans can’t come to terms with this, and sadly it appears that AB is in the same boat. As a leader of this team he can’t just be about passion and positive thinking, that’s the job of the fan. Blind faith, loyalty, #ProteaFire, call it what you want – it’s all based in the heart. AB’s job is to use his head, and by saying ‘we’re still the best team in the tournament’, he is not doing that, and it is to the team’s detriment as the wrong message is being conveyed.

If you keep carrying on in this manner, nothing will change. The Proteas can’t chase, fact. It has been proven time and time again. That is a problem, a crucial weakness. You can’t just take this on the chin and say we will do better next time because you are ‘feeling positive’. Its head in the sand shit, and again, something that us fans do because we don’t want to waste our leisure time dwelling on the negative.

But AB, for the love of biltong and drunk girls in Pretoria, you are not like us, you are not a fan. You are steering the ship here so you need to appreciate this. We like the fact we can relate to you, but good old ‘vasbyt’ and ‘kom manne’ speeches shouldn’t be your go to strategy.

Your team isn’t the best in the tournament, but you have the ability to change that, by accepting that.



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Ben Karpinski is a South African sports blogger/MC/tweeter with a heart so broken by the Proteas, t...

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