Gerald Coetzee Proteas

Gerald Coetzee of the Proteas celebrates with Aiden Markram. Photo: Deepak Malik/Shutterstock via Backpapgepix

Proteas coach says a semi is worth celebrating

The Proteas have exceeded pre-tournament expectations by reaching the semi-finals comfortably but don’t feel that their job is done.

Gerald Coetzee Proteas

Gerald Coetzee of the Proteas celebrates with Aiden Markram. Photo: Deepak Malik/Shutterstock via Backpapgepix

Proteas coach Rob Walter feels that it should be acknowledged that the team have exceeded expectations at the Cricket World Cup.

Pre-tournament estimations were that the Proteas would compete but fall short of the top four.

Proteas form should be acknowledged

ALSO READ: When the Proteas will play Australia in Cricket World Cup semi-final

In the end they finished second in the round-robin phase and have a semi-final showdown with Australia.

“The semi-final becomes what you allow it to become,” Walter said according to SA Cricket Magazine.

ALSO READ: “It’s a challenge for Proteas to bat second” admits Bavuma

“For us, it’s about acknowledging the occasion. I don’t ever want the players to downplay a semi-final, they’ve played bloody good cricket to get there. I’d rather tell them to enjoy the fact that they’re here, that we’ve played superbly.

“They need to enjoy the experience of playing in a semi-final, playing against a team that’s highly competitive and has started playing their best cricket to be fair.

ALSO READ: Only ONE country has achieved the Rugby and Cricket World Cup DOUBLE

“It’s a great challenge, but if we allow it to become more than that, it becomes restrictive. Each player needs to internalise this message and process it himself.

“We just want to play good, winning cricket and do the things we’ve done. When we started, there were must-win games from the start, all of them were, in fact, given how tight the World Cup was going to be. The only games that weren’t were the last two.”

ALSO READ: AB de Villiers says current Proteas side is ‘free of baggage’

The job isn’t done

Walter said that from the players point of view it is far from job done after securing a semi-final place.

“I don’t think the players would’ve bought into the narrative that there were lower expectations going into the tournament,” he said.

“They would back themselves right from the word go to be contenders. For us, the exciting part is the way we’ve played. No one gave us a chance of reaching the semi-finals. I didn’t hear or read one pundit putting us in the top four prior to the tournament.

“In the general sense, we weren’t even thought of [as potential semi-finalists]. Then we played some really good cricket, and what happens? The expectation rises and some people think we might have a chance now.”