Turn the other cheek

South Africa ‘A’ captain Gerald Dros is a smart, likeable and extremely talented man – which makes it all the more upsetting to see him fall into the same, embarrassing trap that two previous generations of international cricketers fell into.

“We are here not to compete but to win the series,” trumpeted Dros on arrival in Brisbane. Whoops.

Whether or not Gerald is aware of it or not, the truth remains that he is leading a team lacking in confidence, cohesion, experience and heavily, heavily outweighed in the talent department.

Perhaps he believes in the power of positive thinking but his head should have over-ruled his heart and told him that to ‘compete’ against their Australian counterparts would be a magnificent achievement.

Humility and even modesty just doesn’t seem to exist in the South African sportsman’s armoury which makes defeat so, so much harder to live down and eventually overcome.

Before you can learn to win you have to learn to lose.

The last time Australia ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ clashed, in South Africa a year ago, the home team lost 5:1. What on earth does Gerald Dros think has changed sufficiently for that result to change, on Australia soil?!

Gerald’s opposite number, Jimmy Maher (one of four squad members with a World Cup winners medal) is a man with every right to say: “We’re going to stuff them, like we always do.” But instead he said: “It’s always a great opportunity to play against an international side like South Africa A.

We are going to use this tour as a stepping stone to take us to another level.”

Another level?! What? Look out South Africa ‘A’, that sounds like it might hurt. And it will hurt even more after Dros’s comment about “…being here to win the series.”

Dros did say We know that it’s a tough tour for us but if we need to stake a claim in international cricket, then we need to beat a good unit like Australia A,” but by then the damage had been done.

Perhaps Dros, like most SA cricketers, needs help with their public relations skills. Or more pertinently, their psychological, sporting warfare skills. Next time, how about paying the opposition a huge compliment, setting realistic goals and then giving your own team a gentle ‘rev.’

“Australia ‘A’ are a tremendous team – they might even be the second best in the world at the moment! – so for us to give them a hard run for their money on home soil would be a hell of a result for us.

But they were 14 talented and determined cricketers who boarded the plane in Jo’burg so you never know what we could do if we all click together.”

I just hope Gerald won’t make the same mistakes after each match and at the end of the series. “We may have lost by 165 runs but it was actually a lot closer than that…they’re really not that good. They have a lot of weaknesses…”

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