Proteas can overcome mental battle - Benkenstein

Dale Benkenstein (Gallo)
Dale Benkenstein (Gallo)

London - Proteas batting coach Dale Benkenstein acknowledged after the World Cup washout against the West Indies in Southampton on Monday that the players had battled nerves at the tournament so far. 

While he believes that the batsmen are all in good touch, Benkenstein says the struggle has rather been a mental one. 

The 45-year-old looked on from the sidelines as South Africa lost their first three matches at the tournament against England, Bangladesh and then India. 

The 'no result' against West Indies gives them their first point of the competition, but the Proteas now face an uphill battle if they are to book an unlikely spot in the semi-finals. 

READ: Benkenstein backs struggling Amla to come good

There have been glimpses of good cricket, but the South Africans have not come anywhere near to their best and they are yet to string together a consistent performance. 

The bowling and batting have both been problematic at times, but one standout is that the nobody in the South African top order has stood up to play a match-winning innings. 

Benkenstein, who played 23 ODIs for South Africa, spoke at length about the top order after the Windies washout and said working on the mentality of his players was a key component of his job moving forward.

"They are things that you can get right, and the individuals have done it before," he said about mindset.

"Sometimes you feel that because it's a World Cup you need to do things better than you are used to doing, but we've done it before. 

"We have to remind them that they are in positions to nail games and to remember how they did it.

"They don't have to be Superman, just bat the best they can."

South Africa are yet to field the same top six at the World Cup, though a head injury to Hashim Amla did force a change by ruling him out of match two against Bangladesh. 

Even so, the selection has not been consistent.

"Ottis (Gibson, coach) has been very clear that he will pick the team based on the different teams and line-ups," explained Benkenstein.

"He picks the team that he thinks is going to win against that particular side. That's how he wants to go about it.

"To be fair, nobody has really put their hand up and made enough runs to say that they're in the side."

The Proteas are next in action when they take on Afghanistan in a must-win clash in Cardiff on Saturday (14:30 SA time)

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...   

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