EDITORIAL | Time to debunk choker theory
Port Elizabeth’s endless summer of cricket will continue next week when the Proteas visit St George’s Park in what promises to be a hard fought Test clash.
So far it has been a busy season of cricket in the Bay, with a jam-packed programme of franchise and international cricket to keep fans happy.
After next week’s Test, the Sri Lankans will return to Port Elizabeth for an ODI against South Africa on March 13.
The ODI will have extra significance because it will be one of the Proteas’ final warm-up games before they head for the World Cup in England.
Unfortunately, SA’s dismal World Cup record has become embedded in cricket folklore for all the wrong reasons.
Now the Proteas have a chance to set the record straight, and a strong showing in the ODI series against the Sri Lankans could set the scene for a change in fortune.
An interesting backdrop to the series is that SA coach Ottis Gibson could be on his way back to England‚ regardless of whether he guides South Africa to World Cup glory.
Gibson is reportedly keen to replace Trevor Bayliss as England coach when his contract expires in September.
Cricket South Africa hired Gibson to win the World Cup, and if he fails in that mission his future will be uncertain.
Gibson‚ whose current deal with CSA will be void after the World Cup‚ has been SA’s coach since September 2017.
His future will be put on the back burner however, when the Proteas battle with Sri Lanka for supremacy.
Key batting and bowling World Cup berths are still up for grabs and the leading contenders will have all to play for over the next couple of weeks.
The Proteas start their campaign in the opening match of the ICC World Cup against hosts England on May 30 at the Oval in London. The tournament runs until July 19.
After flopping badly at so many previous tournaments, Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis has a chance to debunk the theory that his team are chokers.