South Africa Chiefs To Investigate World Cup Showing
South Africa's inconsistent performances at the World Cup culminating in a seven-wicket semi-final trouncing by Australia are to be investigated by the national governing body.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said the team's performance in the semi in St Lucia on Wednesday was deeply disappointing and added that the weaknesses exposed by the defeat would be dealt with "as a matter of urgency".
"Although this does not take anything away from the Australian victory -- a team that is playing at its prime -- the Proteas' performance was disappointing to say the least," CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said in a statement on Thursday.
"There are weaknesses in the Proteas squad which will be addressed as a matter of urgency," Majola continued. "There was an alarming inconsistency in the performances by the Proteas."
South Africa went into the World Cup having claimed the International Cricket Council's number one ranking before the tournament before losing it to Australia.
But they only finished fourth in the second-stage Super Eight phase of the World Cup and were forced to play defending champions Australia in the semi-final in St Lucia, being bowled out for just 149 and losing with 18.3 overs to spare.
Majola said CSA was trying to discover why the team were so inconsistent in the World Cup, given that they were provided with everything they asked for in terms of preparation and support.
"No stone was left unturned over the past two years in preparing them for this World Cup. In addition, they were given a professional support staff of 12. So ... we have to find out why they were so inconsistent and put remedial measures in place.
"Other general weaknesses facing South African cricket lie with mental strength, swing and spin bowling. We are dealing with these issues at the High Performance Centre," Majola added.
The statement said South Africa was instituting an academy exchange programme with India and Pakistan.
"This will enable us to send a squad of spinners to the sub-continent for specialist coaching and for selected batsmen to learn to play spin in those conditions.
"Pakistan and India will then be able to use their bowlers and batsmen to train in our quicker conditions," Majola said.
"We remain, however, deeply disappointed in the Proteas' performance in the semi-final and at the World Cup in general. We will take the lessons learnt from this into our immediate and future plans," Majola added.
South Africa have reached three semi-finals in five editions since being readmitted to the World Cup in 1992 and have lost them all.
© Reuters 2007