SA out to prove people wrong
South Africa vice-captain Jacques Kallis believes his side has finally shaken off the ‘choker’ tag that has haunted them in international cricket over the past few years.
The Proteas have consistently been plagued by strange failings, most notably in the World Cup, where they have ‘choked’, according to their own fans.
In 1996, they won all six of their pool games in stunning fashion, but then lost in the quarter-finals against the West Indies.
This was followed in 1999 when they tied with Australia, but lost the game on a technicality in the semi-finals, while in 2003 at home they were the victims of a wrong run-rate calculation against Sri Lanka.
But Kallis believes that since his side won a one-day series 3-2 against World Champions Australia in March this year – including the world-record game at the time at the Wanderers when they successfully chased down 438 – that the tag is gone.
“I think that's been kicked out a long time ago,” Kallis said.
“We've been successful the last few years. We’ve won tense games and successfully chased huge totals.”
Former captain Shaun Pollock believes those victories over Australia will be the catalyst for a big year in which they want to take the World Cup as well.
“We played well against Australia back home to win that series,” said Pollock.
“They are rated the number-one team in the world, so we take a lot of confidence from that.”
“This is a big season for us and on our day we can beat anyone. We want to make sure we are ready as we have the opportunity to win the Champions Trophy and the World Cup later.”
South Africa begin their ICC Champions Trophy challenge when they take on New Zealand on October 16.