Mike Horn jets out to prep Proteas

2015-03-17 00:00

A WORLD renowned adventurer has been summoned to get the Proteas mentally ready for their World Cup quarter-final match against Sri Lanka after the South Africans initially renounced the services of a sports psychologist.

Mike Horn (48) yesterday hastily joined the South African touring party, who already boast one of the biggest coaching staffs at the tournament, for tomorrow’s encounter at the SCG.

The South African-born solo explorer has previously been involved with a number of well-known sports teams, including the triumphant Indian World Cup cricket team in 2011 and the German soccer team who were crowned world champions in Brazil last year.

Horn also helped to get the Proteas into shape in the Swiss Alps in 2012, prior to the team’s series during which they dethroned England as the top cricketing nation in their own backyard.

“Mike has done a number of exceptional things and he will present the players with a valuable perspective on how to process stress, handle fear and how it feels be in one’s comfort zone over the next few days. These are all things he knows a lot about,” said Proteas coach Russell Domingo.

“His energy is contagious and he fits in easily with the team. Furthermore, he has accomplished much more fearful things than someone who has to bat against Dale Steyn or Morné Morkel.”

Apart from Domingo and assistant coach Adrian Birrell, the team have two bowling coaches (Allan Donald and Charl Langeveldt), two batting consultants (Gary Kirsten and Mike Hussey), a spin bowling coach (Claude Henderson), a physiotherapist and fitness coach.

The Proteas have been unsuccessful in their six previous bids to win a World Cup knockout match and have also been defeated twice — against India and Pakistan — in this year’s group rounds.

According to Domingo, the team’s habit of choking during important matches is something that has been discussed regularly.

“It’s been part of South African cricket for a long time and each time we play in tournaments such as this one, it gets mentioned. We have discussed this among each other many times and we admit that we have allowed such opportunities to go a begging in the past,” said Domingo.

“Hopefully we have learnt from the mistakes other teams before us have made and … should the moment arise where one of our players is under such pressure, we will endeavour not to get trapped in what had happened in the past.”

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