AB de Villiers (left) and Faf du Plessis took South Africa on the brink of a historic win in the first Test © Getty Images
AB de Villiers (left) and Faf du Plessis took South Africa on the brink of a historic win in the first Test © Getty Images

 

Dec 24, 2013

 

Former cricketers Clive Rice and Ray Jennings on Tuesday slammed South African side for not going for win against India in the first Test match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

 

South Africa called off the chase when Faf du Plessis was run out for 134, and at that moment the hosts needed 16 more runs off 19 balls to register a historic win.

 

“It was nothing less than a choke,” said former captain Rice to Beeld website, according to Sport24.

 

“That’s not the way you play cricket when you get in a winning position. I believe if South Africa went for a win and lost the Test in the process, they would have earned a lot more respect for their approach to the game. I’m sorry, but if you’re the No 1 Test team in the world, then you go for the win in that situation. It’s only a team that doubts itself that pulls out and takes the option we eventually took.

 

“For me it was actually a very bad performance and I didn’t even want to watch those last few balls. I was so angry that I left the room. I believe a team should at all times have a winning mentality and South Africa did not have that,” he added.

 

“And to say it was the two batsmen’s decision to play for a draw, is also ridiculous. Where is the team management who should make the decisions? When I was captain my players always knew what I expected of them and what our plan was.

 

“Therefore, if that was the case, then team management and the captain should be hauled over the coals. In the end it was a very good effort to draw, but when it comes to striving for victory, it was ridiculously poor,” Rice added.

 

Former South Africa coach Jennings also felt it was a choke from the world No 1 Test side.

 

“In a situation like that, you expect a lot better from the best Test team in the world. I’m struggling to understand where the decision to shut up shop came from. It was said that [Vernon] Philander and [Dale] Steyn made the decision, but I believe it came from the change room,” said Jennings.

 

The second and the final Test match of the series starts on Thursday at Kingsmead, Durban.