Smith braced for fresh wave of choker accusations

At the start of the World Cup South Africa captain Graeme Smith finally snapped when he was asked yet again about his team’s reputation for choking in the big games.

“So you have been out in the middle, you will understand that?,” Smith replied. The room fell silent.

After Friday’s quarterfinal loss to New Zealand, a fifth World Cup knockout defeat in as many matches, Smith was gloomily braced for an even more virulent wave of criticism.

“When the team gets on to the plane and goes home, it’s going to be daggers and stones thrown and whatever,” he told a news conference.

“And you know a group of 25 people have to take it on the chin. It’s been going on since 1992, we haven’t won any World Cups.

“We feel terrible.
We come out here and tried to give our best, I cannot fault the way the team has tried and prepared. We have tried to give our best all the time, but we are disappointed. We let us down and let a lot of people back home down. There are no excuses for that.”

Smith said apart from a “crazy five overs” his team had played decent cricket. “I thought we certainly bowled well enough to win today. I think batting let us down in the middle period. It is as simple as that,” he said.

“I don’t think its anything else. New Zealand squeezed us, the ball got softer and we knew that it’s going to be difficult period from the 20 over mark till the 34 over. It does get really slow and low.

“We just needed to show at little bit more composure in that period and we didn’t. I think we lost four wickets from 25 overs to 30 and it’s always difficult to recover from there on a like this.”

“It’s no point picking on anyone. Everybody tried to give their best.” - Reuters

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