Four-time semi-finalists South Africa, who failed miserably in the ICC World Cup 2019 and crashed out of the tournament after losing to Pakistan by 49 runs, said that their preparations were hurt by the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Proteas managed to beat only bottom-placed Afghanistan in their seven outings in the tournament and such a disappointing show is bound to upset a lot of people.
However, within hours of finding themselves out of the fray, the South Africans have started coming up with excuses and one of them is the Indian Premier League (IPL).
South Africa are one team whose planning was not up to the mark for the big event. And now, Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials have started pointing out that it was because of the T20 tournament in India that their preparations were hampered since the board could not control its players against playing in the cash-rich tournament.
Two of South Africa’s premier pace bowlers Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada got injured while playing the IPL and Rabada though still made it to the ground at the World Cup, Steyn could not.
The 24-year-old, however, has been in poor form at the World Cup and skipper Faf du Plessis has opined about the former’s ordinary show.
Having taken just six wickets in seven games at an average of 50.83, Kagiso Rabada has been far from the spearhead South Africa had expected him to be at the World Cup. The fast bowler has admitted that his performances at the tournament have only been “okay”.
Du Plessis said after the heart-breaking loss to Pakistan that he and few others were against some of the top players from participating in the IPL. And CSA even had a meeting with the team management to decide on releasing players for the T20 league reports suggest.
CEO Thabang Moroe, President Chris Nenzani and coach Ottis Gibson even had meetings on the release of the players for the IPL. This was during the series against Sri Lanka.
While I am not aware if the team management also wanted the players to return early and attend a camp before leaving for England, there was some debate on the release keeping an eye also on the workload. But the players were keen to be a part of the IPL from the beginning, a CSA official said, reflecting on the board’s helplessness.
When Rabada complained of a stiff back during the IPL, he was told to return home at once and take rest for the World Cup.
Skipper Faf du Plessis acknowledged after Sunday’s loss to Pakistan that Rabada was over-bowled in the build-up to the World Cup, adding that the Proteas had tried to stop him from going to the IPL.
Rabada confirmed as much himself, also after Sunday’s match at Lord’s, but would not delve into the specifics.
“Well, the plan was to leave [from the IPL early] but that didn’t work out – don’t ask me about any of that – but eventually I came back earlier as you might know,” he said.
Rabada acknowledged that the mood in the dressing room was one of extreme disappointment, but he believes he will take some serious lessons forward with him.
“It’s not a great feeling. We’re very disappointed,” he said.
“We tried so hard at practices and we spoke about what we needed to do, but unfortunately we just couldn’t bring it onto the field of play and that’s what you have to do. It’s disappointing, but having said that I think there have been many lessons.”
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis admitted being “embarrassed” by his country’s early World Cup exit but is determined to fight on in the role.
“The results we’re dishing out at the moment are a little embarrassing,” he said.
“But as players, we need to front up to this challenge and I need to be part of that.”