The Twitter trolls were out in full force again as the Proteas jetted off to the Caribbean this week.
Many were horrified that coach Russell Domingo had taken advice from his 11-year-old to heart regarding South Africa’s position on the world rankings across the three formats. It has, after all, not been an easy ride for fans in the last few months.
Then there were the doubters who felt that Domingo’s suggestion that the South African side might take their cricket a little too seriously – particularly in the big events – and that they might be able to take a leaf out of the West Indies book.
The Windies are after all the champions at providing a festive atmosphere with their exploits both on and off the field. Even when their Test side is being dismantled their players seem to keep their spirits up.
And when things are going well, as they did for both the men’s and women’s side’s at this year’s ICC World T20 that carnival atmosphere is intensified.
But surely the lackadaisical approach can’t work when it comes to the Proteas?
“They’ve always played the game in a free-spirited way. They’ve got a bit of swagger, a bit of x-factor and maybe we can learnt a few lessons from that. Maybe at times you do get too tense and they go about their business in a light-hearted way and perform when it counts,” Domingo said.
If ever there was a time to try and take a more relaxed approach to cricket it’s now. After all, the idylls of the islands provides the right backdrop.
Obviously the measure of any team is in their performance so if the results come then there can’t be too many people complaining.
As a colleague pointed out this week, the Proteas will “probably win because it’s not a World Cup” and while there is some accuracy in the statement I’m sure that Domingo will be desperate to find the right formula on this trip.
He is a man under pressure after the failings at the short format showpiece and the slip of the Test side although he is boosted by the fact that the last time the one day unit were together they managed to pull off a great escape when hosting England.
The build up to this series has had a very low-key approach to it. At times it’s even seemed very disjointed given that the squad will have arrived in dribs and drabs, partly due to the fact that AB de Villiers has been sublime in the Indian Premier League.
Perhaps the laid-back nature of the Caribbean ignites the spark again. It’s needed in order to keep the trolls in their caves.