Duncan sees SA as most balanced

Feb. 18: Duncan Fletcher is one of the most sought after coaches in world cricket. Under the Zimbabwean, England progressed so much that they became one of the best sides in the world, with the epic 2005 Ashes win being their highest point.

Currently, Fletcher works in a freelance coaching role and following his stint with New Zealand during their ODI series in India last November has now been roped in by South Africa as their batting consultant for the World Cup. Given the enormous experience he has, Fletcher is sure to play a major role as the Proteas aim to end their title drought.

“South Africa is a very balanced side because it has players who cover most areas,” said the 62-year-old after the team’s practice session here on Friday.

“For instance, if you have a turning track we do have some spinners and I am glad that I am not a selector because trying to balance a side and deciding on who will play can get difficult. Bringing in Imran Tahir is a big move and Robin Peterson is bowling well,” he said.

“You also have Duminy who can bowl a few effective overs. Obviously, Botha has proved himself. They also have a good seam attack,” Fletcher explained.

Going into the tournament, the chokers’ tag inevitably sits on Graeme Smith’s men, having had the history of snatching defeats from the jaws of victory. Fletcher did not try to cover up the flaw and blamed it on ‘circumstances’.

“It’s circumstances. I think they win too many games early on and somewhere along the line, you are going to lose a game. It might pay to lose a game early on because you need some luck later on in this event.

“Probably with this young side, we can go on and do it. They had some good sides and they have always been competitive. Suddenly, in the knockout stage you come across a good side and you have a problem. When you lose to a better side, you have to accept that,” he added.

Fletcher termed India as favourites but said they are not overwhelming. “I don’t see South Africa as favourites at all. I see India as favourites, but no, I wouldn’t use the word strong.”

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