Perception is reality

It is ridiculous to suggest that AB de Villiers should be at OR Tambo Airport to answer for his team’s miserable capitulation – twice – in the Caribbean Triangular Series. As we said at the start of the tournament, and say again now, it meant very little in the greater scheme of things.

He will not be there because he has something better to do. Something more exciting than explaining the unexplainable while talking around the issues he cannot talk about.

It’s not as simple as anyone may think. In fact, it’s so complex that de Villiers himself doesn’t know or understand what he is permitted to say or not to say. Given a green light. As he has been, some of his earlier observations have earned a call to the headmaster’s study.

So what a relief it must have been for the captain and his most senior lieutenants, Du Plessis, Amla and Morkel to remain in the West Indies for the Caribbean Premier League. A new team, new environment and lesser expectations, at least on themselves. It’s one thing carrying the hopes of Barbados or Trinidad, quite another the obsessive ones of South Africa.

Frankly, it’s hard not to imagine the extreme relief of moving from Proteas’ colours to those of Barbados, Trinidad, St.Kitts, Jamaica and Barbados. South Africans will be amongst all of them. Many will, no doubt, flourish. They will do so because of their talent, but also because of the environment in which they will perform. An environment which encompasses form, fitness, playing conditions and team balance. And not much else.

Transformation and quotas are a part of South African sport, and players from all societies understand the need for both. It doesn’t mean they enjoy the reality. “There will be pain before there is gain,” said our most senior administrator a while ago. He was referring to domestic cricket.

The international landscape defines the reality of the Proteas’ collective approach to the game. Give it everything, commit it all… but there is still a fabulous buffet available just around the corner, win or lose.

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