The Proteas have done exceptionally well and have exceeded expectations, so we should be proud - Dr Ali Bacher

South Africa's David Miller plays a shot during his Cricket World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand in Auckland. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

South Africa's David Miller plays a shot during his Cricket World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand in Auckland. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

Published Nov 18, 2023


DR ALI Bacher says South African cricket fans should be proud of the effort by the Proteas at this year's World Cup despite failing to make it to the final once again.

The Proteas’ journey in India came to an end this week when they lost to a strong Australian team at Eden Gardens.

The Proteas posted a measly total of 212 in their allotted 50 overs but fought back hard in the bowling department, making it difficult for Australia to chase down the target. However, their total was not nearly enough as Australia reached the total with two overs to sparel.

But despite this, Bacher says there is plenty to be positive about.

“I have got to compliment this team. They have exceeded not only my expectations but have exceeded the expectations of cricket lovers in the country as a whole,” says Bacher.

“The team has done exceptionally well. Before our strength was in our bowling and our batting was brittle. However, in India, our batting has been extremely good.

Dr Ali Bacher. Picture: Shayne Robinson/SAPA

“They did very well. Even though they lost out in the semi-finals, it didn't deter me at all. This bodes very well for the future.”

While many fans have once again labelled the Proteas chokers, Bacher believes that label is unwarranted.

They may have failed to win several World Cup semi-finals, but Bacher says they were unlucky on several occasions.

“In 1999, it was a tight match against Australia. We lost out on a technicality but we were the better team on the day.

“When we lost to New Zealand in a semi-final, we were unlucky. It wasn’t a lack of temperament. Everything was going against us. We batted first and then the game was reduced due to rain. Had we batted all fifty overs, I don’t think New Zealand would have reached that target.

“When we went out to bowl, the field was wet and the ball was soft, and that made it difficult for our bowlers. Everything went against us and we lost because of pure bad luck. We should have been in that final too, but it wasn’t to be.”

Bacher says the Proteas also showed grit and determination at this year's World Cup, as India is one of the most difficult places to play cricket in.

Ali Bacher

“Playing in India is very difficult,” says Bacher.

“It’s hot, it’s humid, games are early in the morning because it's winter. Then they also have big crowds supporting India.

“Australian captain Steve Waugh once told me that his biggest regret in his career was never being part of an Australian team that won a series in India. This just gives you an indication of how difficult it is to win in India.”

Bacher has also singled out praise for Proteas Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock for their impressive performances at the World Cup.

“I’m a big supporter of Aiden Markram, that young man is captain material. I am a big supporter of him because his technique is amazing. He may have a bad run here and there, but his technique is very good.

“Van der Dussen has got a good temperament and a strong mind and can take the pressure out there, so he’s done very well.

“I have no idea why Quinton de Kock is retiring from fifty-over cricket when he is only 30 years old. As a wicketkeeper, I don’t think he’s brilliant, he’s decent, but as an opening batsman in this format he is one of the best in the world.

“I don’t think we have only seen the best of Kagiso Rabada at this year's World Cup, but in my opinion he is one of the best fast bowlers in world cricket.

Dr. Ali Bacher

“Dale Steyn once said to me that Rabada will turn out to be the best fast bowler this country has ever produced and will break all existing records.”

Bacher has tipped India to win the World Cup. They face off against Australia in the final this weekend.

“To me the best team on paper is India. They are the best Indian team I've seen in over twenty years.

“They have good openers, they have good fast bowlers, good spinners, a good wicketkeeper, and a fantastic batting lineup, and of course, the best batsman in world cricket, in Virat Kohli.

“Aside from the team being so good, their supporters are on a whole other level. To play against that crowd isn’t easy. The Indian support motivates the Indian team. The team is not cricket-mad, they are cricket crazy.

“Kohli has also made the team what they are today. When we played India twenty or thirty years ago, they weren't mentally as strong as a team like Australia.

“But the minute Kohli took over the captaincy, everything changed. He is like an Aussie, and he takes no nonsense on the field. He has changed the temperament within the team, and he has made a difference.”

Saturday Star

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