The Proteas have once again failed in a knockout situation, and again their fans are treated to a series of pointless excuses by the coaching staff and players.
As a South African, I'm getting pretty tired of writing this pretty much all the bloody time. Like most Proteas fans, I am not stupid, so I find the excuse mill rather insulting, especially when the offerings are so pathetic. This time round 'player burnout' was used.
'Player burnout', do me a bloody favour...
If excuses are all they have, surely they could get creative and perhaps say things like the team was being harassed by a sex-crazed Brazilian volleyball team, or they had all suddenly become cripplingly sad over the plight of the rhino, or that there are too many Sagittarius players in the team.
Although, that said, AB de Villiers did throw out a piece of creative brilliance by saying Russell Domingo and his staff are the best coaching staff in the world!
Nobody saw that coming.
But in all seriousness though, enough with the excuses, let's try to focus on what is really happening with this team.
That 'player burnout' chestnut: every team has to deal with that; it's called the modern era. Let's not kid ourselves here.
They seem to have all 'out mated' each other, and are literally falling over each other to not blame anyone. AB says Domingo is the best coach in the world, Domingo says the players didn't let them down.
Then there are all these videos on YouTube and on local SA TV coverage of how great the team spirit is. How the players just all get along so well and the vibe in the dressing room is better than ever.
What is this, a corporate team building exercise? Who gives a toss about all the above when time and time again this team just rolls over and plays dead when the going gets tough!
If this sort of string of results was happening in the Australian camp, someone would have a black eye by now, some player’s wife would have been knocked up by a different player and at least one dressing room TV would have been smashed.
Are these Proteas even human? Right now they just seem like beauty pageant contestants, saying nice things and being humble while the rest of the cricketing world continues to pass them by.
Has this team gotten to the point where they are just so tired of being called chokers, so tired of taking responsibility for their frailties that they have just created their own parallel universe? A universe where nobody gets dropped, nobody gets criticised, everyone just gets along, and they make a music video before a tournament?
The excuses have to stop. Hard decisions have to be made. This endless summer where everyone is best mates needs to end now. Australia literally told Mickey Arthur to piss off, now look at them. England had to break up with Kevin Pietersen for good, and now they can really play. The West Indies decided to have a party and give the middle finger to their management at the recent WT20 and naturally they won the thing.
Cricket is a tough game. It's no place for the soft. It's not a place you go to escape the mean world. I have been saying it for years and years and I mean it now more than ever. The Proteas need to harden the fuck up!
But who is going to be the one that does it?
Russell Domingo will not resign, AB de Villiers will keep saying 'the right things', and Cricket South Africa already have their hands full trying to operate in a heavily politically soiled environment.
South African cricket needs a hero. And that hero needs to be rough and uncompromising to shake this current system to its very core.
I just hope he exists.
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