South Africa can shed their reputation chokers, insists Duminy

The Proteas have yet to win the sport s biggest one-day prize following a series of misfortunes since the country s return to international cricket

New Delhi: Feb 18, 2011


South Africa can shed their reputation as World Cup chokers, batsman JP Duminy insisted. The Proteas have yet to win the sport s biggest one-day prize following a series of misfortunes since the country s return to international cricket.

Duminy believes that having a 15-man squad that boasts 11 World Cup debutants means a campaign free of the baggage of failure. “We know that tag (as chokers) haunts us quite a bit but there are a lot of new faces in the team,” Duminy told cricinfo on Friday.

“Hopefully that tag won t bother us too much in going all the way in this tournament. It s a young-looking side but it s not necessarily a bad thing. We ve been putting building blocks in place before the first game and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

After 21 years of apartheid-induced isolation, South Africa made the semi-finals in 1992 only to be undone by a bizarre rain rule that left them needing 22 runs off one ball to beat England.

In 1996 a side led by the late Hansie Cronje and coached by the innovative Bob Woolmer established themselves as favourites in India and Pakistan, sweeping through the group stage only to be beaten in the quarter-finals by a West Indian team that had struggled to qualify.

Cronje and Woolmer were again in charge of a powerful team in England in 1999 before Australia clawed back from the brink of elimination in a Super Six match, then knocked the Proteas out on net run rate when a dramatic semi-final between the two teams ended in a tie.

South Africa s failure to qualify for the second round at home in 2003 cost Shaun Pollock the captaincy and his successor, Graeme Smith, led a largely lacklustre campaign in the West Indies in 2007.

Although South Africa reached the semi-finals for the third time it was no surprise when they were beaten by a strong Australian team

AFP