Johannesburg: Coach Corrie van Zyl admitted on Sunday that South Africa lacked the composure to go all the way after a shock 2011 Cricket World Cup quarter-finals loss to New Zealand.
Set 222 to win in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, the hotly fancied Proteas were bundled out for 172 and ‘Choker’ headlines littered weekend Johannesburg newspapers.
‘Horrible! Super chokers do it again’, ‘What a choke’ and ‘Chokers’ made painful reading for the likes of all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who queried whether journalists knew the meaning of the word before the World Cup.
Defeat to New Zealand was the latest in a long list of failures by captain Graeme Smith and his team which boasts some of the best cricketers on the international scene but has never won a world title.
“We did not have the composure to go all the way," said Van Zyl, who steps down as caretaker coach as his contract expired with the World Cup defeat by the Kiwis.
But he refused to be despondent about the future during a media conference at OR Tambo airport east of Johannesburg, saying he believed the national team would go all the way at the World Cup soon.
“There is no question that this team will win the World Cup. It is important to keep the core of the team together," he stressed.
Smith, who is stepping down as skipper but will remain available to bat for the 50-over and Twenty20 national teams, told the South African media he was bitterly disappointed.
“We cannot shy away from the reality. We had an exceptional chance of winning the World Cup and can blame only ourselves for the defeat," he confessed.
“South Africa played a few outstanding games and there were various highlights we can look back on, but for now it is going to be difficult and the immediate future looks bleak."
Seeking a ray of light amid the gloom, Smith turned to spinners Imran Tahir, Robbie Peterson and Johan Botha.
“The way they bowled forbodes lots of good things for the side. We now have three spin bowlers who can take wickets and there are a few young players who must be developed."
Smith hailed middle-order batsman Faf du Plessis for his brave 36-run stand as he tried to stop the rot while more experienced team-mates cracked under New Zealand pressure.
“It was very encouraging to see how Faf batted under tremendous pressure and Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are going from strength to strength as fast bowlers."