(Reuters) – South Africa must look to emulate England as they look to rebuild their squad and change their one-day international (ODI) mentality following a premature exit from the World Cup, former all-rounder Jacques Kallis has said.
The Proteas lost by 49 runs to Pakistan on Sunday, ruling themselves out of contention for the semi-finals in the process having won only one of their seven matches at the tournament — a win over minnows Afghanistan.
England had similarly failed to qualify for the quarter-finals in 2015. The humiliating exit prompted them to rethink their strategy and it bore fruit as a new core of aggressive players led by Eoin Morgan catapulted them to the top of the ODI rankings.
“South Africa need to take inspiration from England as they rebuild their team for the next World Cup,” Kallis wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council.
“Four years ago, England were perhaps one of the lowest ranked teams in the world after really struggling at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“They used the disappointment of their performances in 2015 to rebuild their team and totally change their mentality and approach to one-day cricket. England now play without fear and aren’t afraid to make mistakes.”
Kallis said South Africa did not need to take drastic calls and make “wholesale changes” to the squad, instead urging them to have frank opinions about how they could improve as a team and learn from the setback.
“The first thing that needs to be looked at is the brand of cricket South Africa are playing and all the players will want to be part of that conversation,” he added.
“South Africa have some great young players in their twenties (Kagiso Rabada, 24, Lungi Ngidi, 23, Andile Phehlukwayo, 23, and Aiden Markram, 24) and they can be the foundation for the future.
“What those guys have been through at this World Cup will be invaluable and the process starts with them… England are proof how quickly things can change in four years, so long as you have the right approach.”
South Africa next play Sri Lanka in Chester-le-Street on Friday.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)