Veterans Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher are optimistic that the SA20, South Africa’s new franchise T20 league, will assist the national team in finally winning a World Cup. “I actually thought we had a strong team in this World Cup in Australia, I thought we had a good chance. But obviously disappointed with the way we finished. I think what we want to create in this league is that there’s so much talent, hope we can develop that talent to play under pressure on a global stage,” Smith, the SA20 commissioner, said at an event in Mumbai as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
The former Protea captain reflected on the success of the Indian Premier League that has unearthed great cricketing talent for India and hoped that the SA20 can do the same for South Africa. “I know I keep talking about the IPL but you look at the amount of strong cricketers that have come through in the IPL. Looking at trying to find 15 players, hopefully, there’s 25-35 players in the next couple of years at a level where it makes the selectors’ jobs very, very difficult. Those that are used to playing big games are exposed to big games. Unfortunately, South Africa has to deal with these questions all the time until they actually win a tournament,” said Smith.
In 16 attempts, including eight ODI World Cups and eight T20 World Cups, South Africa have failed to win a men’s World Cup. Despite several close calls in knockout games, they haven’t advanced past the semifinals in five of the last six ICC white-ball competitions. South Africa lost to the Netherlands in their final group-stage T20 World Cup match and was eliminated. Following the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, Boucher’s position as head coach of South Africa came to an end. He will now serve as the coach of the Mumbai Indians.
“There are reasons why you’ve got World Cups in your cabinets,” Boucher said, talking about India. “The reason is big stages, guys playing in finals and semi-finals. The more you play those games the better you get. This [SA20] is going to be on the big stage as well. You’re going to see youngsters. Guys are going to be put in situations they’re not used to and that’s going to be exciting to see who comes through. Then once that happens, our coaches and selectors can check and select the guys who are needed for the big moments and the big events,” mentioned the new Mumbai Indians recently appointed coach.
The question of whether South Africa will automatically qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup remains, though. With only five games remaining, they are currently ranked No. 11 in the Super League and need to win at least three of them to try to place among the top eight teams that qualify directly for the World Cup next year. In order to have all of their top players available for the start of the SA20 in January, South Africa forfeited three ODIs in Australia. As a result, they have only won five of their 16 Super League games so far. (ANI)
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