All 15 members of South Africa’s World Cup squad have already featured in this year’s competition, but assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa said ensuring everyone had a chance to play was never part of their thinking and their approach of choosing the best team to win the next game will continue in the two dead rubbers they have remaining.
South Africa are already eliminated from semifinal contention and, with their match against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Friday being their penultimate game, there had been suggestions from some quarters that the Proteas should make changes.
“Our plan has always been to try and play the best team possible for the conditions and there’s no way we’re going to shift our mindset away from winning every game to now giving guys a chance just because we’re out of contention. We owe it to the tournament and to ourselves to win our last two games and we want to make sure we finish well for the millions of people supporting us back home.
“Our focus is on representing our country and we want to make sure we finish on a high. It’s about our legacy of this World Cup and we don’t want it to be winning one game out of 10; three out of 10 sounds a bit better. We want to walk away with our heads held high from the last two games,” Maketa said in Durham on Wednesday.
When asked how he felt after being told that Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani had said “heads must roll” back home, Maketa said he and the other coaches knew what they had signed on for, but he added that he hoped they would be remembered more for the good work they had done over the last two years.
“It’s been tough for all of us because we haven’t performed as well as we would have liked and we have to suffer the consequences. We are strong enough, man enough to say it hasn’t worked out. We are willing to take responsibility but hopefully the lot of good work we had done before what is a one-off competition will count for more, judge us on the last two years.
“That’s our profession as coaches and we all have to take collective responsibility. If heads roll we can say we gave it our best shot and I think our work has contributed to something for Cricket South Africa,” Maketa said.