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CWC 2023 | Proteas Coach Rob Walter post-match press conference SA v India

Rob-Walter-05-11-23

5 November - Kolkata - South Africa Coach Rob Walter post-match press conference

 

[Reporter:]

Obviously, things went wrong out there, but why did they go wrong?

Rob Walter

Good question and an understatement altogether. To be fair, just a day that we were out-skilled really. I didn't feel that was a 320 pitch. They obviously got off to a flyer and we pulled it back nicely. I thought Keshav bowled beautifully today along with KG. And yeah, 320 was too much on that deck and then from a bowling point of view, they put us under pressure right from the word go. Couldn't claw our way back in, and as I said, just got out-skilled on the day.

[Reporter:]

I just wondered about the nerves that appeared to be on display at the start of the match. There was a lot of talk from three or four of the players before the game about it just being another game of cricket, which evidently it wasn't going to be. Playing India in a World Cup game at Eden Gardens in front of 70,000. And I just wondered whether that was a deliberate thing to try and treat it like a normal game of cricket rather than sort of impress the fact that it obviously wouldn't be.

Rob Walter

To be dead honest, I mean, in the lead-up to the game as well as just before the game I didn't have a sense of the guys being overawed or nervous by the situation - I mean the whole thing we spoke about this week was actually being excited by the occasion. It's not very often you get to play the full Eden Gardens against India in a World Cup. So, from that point of view, it was exciting for me more than anything else. And I genuinely felt that the players were excited by the occasion.

I mean, I can't speak for them individually, but I didn't get a sense of a huge amount of nerves before the game. That said, our execution probably let us down more than anything else and put us on the back foot.

[Reporter:]

If you were to meet this Indian team again, I know there's still a lot that needs to happen for that, from today's game, do you have a sense that there are areas that you can target them or do they feel a bit unbeatable at the moment?

Rob Walter

I mean, they're a hell of a team. And very well-balanced and highly skilled. There's no way around it. They've won every game and they've won it well.

You have to believe that on a day if you execute your skills, you've also got a chance and we just didn't right from the word go. We know already what Marco Jansen can do with a new ball, today was an off day, the guy's a young guy playing in a World Cup, he's played seven excellent games to point and didn't have a great start today and could just as easily bowl very well the next time we find ourselves against him if we're able to.

So yeah, this game is a funny game and you get taught new lessons every single day and get surprised every single day. So, it wouldn't surprise me if the tables turned the next time around. The beauty of it is that there may well be another shot for us and we've been allowed to learn from that.

[Reporter:]

Is there any room to say that maybe things aren't so bad because you didn't beat yourselves as South African teams have done in the past, that you were completely clapped by a vastly superior team, or is that just mission statement talk?

Rob Walter

No, I mean, the scoreboard will tell you everything you need to know. India was far superior than we were today. There's no two ways about that. Just like we've played in this tournament, we've been far superior than other teams that on a piece of paper look evenly matched or potentially superior. Once you get your nose in front of international cricket, I believe that anyone can beat anyone. And today, the Indian side got their nose in front, a highly skilled team, and we weren't able to get back into the game.

[Reporter:]

Just on Marco, you spoke about him being young and he's had such a good game so far, before today. How will you handle him after this? This was a really tough lesson for him and he came apart a little bit.

Rob Walter

To be honest, it's a gift, isn't it? Being able to run out in front of 75,000 in a game like today and so many learning opportunities out there. Fortunately for us you know today wasn't a must-win fixture. It was just an opportunity to play against a really good team and yeah, he struggled today but as I said he's got the skill set to bounce back and be effective the next time around, and what he does have now is the value of having already run out, competed, felt what it's like to be in a cauldron with 70,000 people cheering against you. And you'll have that as experience that's invaluable. You can't get that anywhere else but here.

[Reporter:]

You mentioned that it probably, as it turned out, wasn't necessarily your guys' fault, it's just how the results panned out. This game sort of turned into more of an exhibition where you could showcase your skills instead of being a must-win. But do you think that perhaps it did weigh on the guys' minds, the fact that the semi-final is secured now and two-pronged?

Do you believe now that four days in between the Afghan game might actually be a good thing after the lessons that were learned here?

Rob Walter

I think if you walk into that changing room now, you're going to find a group of guys highly disappointed that we weren't able to pay tribute to what was an awesome occasion, like a great opportunity for us to showcase our skill. We played so well throughout this entire World Cup and we would have wanted nothing more than this to be a great contest.

As far as the next four days go, for us it's really about doing what we've done the whole time, using the time we've got available to us to get ready for the next fixture, and then into a semi-final. So, nothing changes there.

The guys have worked incredibly hard to this point. We worked incredibly hard on our game, and invested a huge amount of time into our preparation and so now it's really about just mentally recovering, physically recovering, and being ready to compete and compete like we have the whole tournament.

[Reporter:]

Do you think that the pitch is the key factor that the batting strength of South Africa succumbed to the spin attack of the Indian squad?

Rob Walter

I think it would be very short-sighted and unfair of me to blame the pitch. One side gets 320, and we get bowled out for 80. That doesn't sound right, does it?

So, to be fair, as I said, 320 was too much on that pitch. I think we'll all reflect on that and say that that was probably 70 or 80 too many. But on the other side, I think India was excellent. And I wouldn't blame the pitch on that part.

[Reporter:]

I know there's been questions about nerves. I'm sure between the innings break you might have had and the innings you might have had a chat with your bowlers. Was it actually nerves or did they come across something they didn't expect because they have been starting really quickly? What was it in those first 10 overs? Because after that, you actually pulled them back pretty well.

Rob Walter

Look, I think the one thing that was different today certainly is we've been able to swing the ball, the new ball, and most of the time we've been doing it at night. So, we were bowling first, so it wasn't as much swing as we've been used to, but along with that our execution was off, and with that if you've got a guy like Rohit Sharma who's on the other end, if you miss your areas, you're going to fetch. And we did, so 91 after 10, you're behind the 8 ball already. And then you're busy clawing back from there, which we did, I thought we did exceptionally well. As I said, Keshav was outstanding today, and KG as well. So yeah, I mean, I don't want to look too far or too deeply into it than that.

Cricket, Proteas, womens month, CWC 2023, India

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