‘Stick to the cricket you have been playing’: Kallis' advice for South Africa ahead of World Cup
South African cricketing legend Jacques Kallis remarked that the Proteas players should stick to their roles during the ICC Cricket World Cup in India and continue the manner in which they have been playing, pointing that past unsuccessful campaigns were because the players "wanted it too much" and "went outside their roles" because of it.
South African legends Kallis and Faf du Plessis have shared their thoughts on how the Proteas could fare at the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.
South Africa heads into the marquee tournament in India with a nice blend of youth and experience to pick from. They have never ever won a major ICC World Championship despite featuring some of cricket's most exciting and talented stars in their squad over the years.
When the selectors gather to pick their squad for the World Cup, they will have exciting young talents in Dewald Brevis, Tristan Stubbs and Gerald Coetzee to pick from alongside seasoned campaigners like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma and David Miller.
As good as the squad will be, the legendary all-rounder Kallis, speaking exclusively to the ICC, said the key for South Africa would be to stay true to their brand of cricket.
"The one thing that needs to change for South Africa to be successful in a Cricket World Cup is to carry on playing the cricket that we've played going into the World Cup," he said as quoted by ICC.
"We have a history of playing good cricket leading into the World Cup. For some reason, things change. Maybe we want it too much. I think players wanted too much and you have gone outside of the area you need to be doing. Maybe going outside of their roles because they wanted too much," he added.
Kallis had a valuable piece of advice for the current crop of players: "Stick to your roles. Trust the partner next to you. And just play the cricket you have been playing."
Kallis believes South Africa's traditional strength – their pace attack – will once again be key for their hopes.
"South Africa's strength to me is going to be in our bowling attack. We have got some quality pace bowlers that can blow away the opposition's top-order. And I think they are going to play a major role if South Africa are going to get far, if we do get far (in the tournament)," he said.
Kallis' optimism was matched by former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.
"South Africa's white-ball team is in a strong place. They have got some real experience going into that World Cup," he added.
Du Plessis, however, did warn that adapting to the conditions in the sub-continent would be the biggest challenge for Temba Bavuma's men.
"The challenge for all teams that are not from the subcontinent is obviously always the challenge of going to the subcontinent," he said.
"Especially 50-over cricket. I find with T20 cricket, the surfaces are a bit more even. And you get some really good pitches. With 50-over cricket, you can get that wear and tear and the spinners really come into their own."
Du Plessis however added that the home team, India, and serial winners Australia would be the teams to beat.
"I think South Africa has got a really good side. It will be hard to get past a team like India in home conditions. The other team you can never write off is Australia, with them being so successful in ICC events," he concluded.