For a total of four minutes of your conference prior to the quarterfinal press, Russell Domingo could breathe easy. And then came.
“Coach, I hate to be the one who brings this …” began a reporter.
“Ah, yes, suffocation, drowning,” Domingo said, with all the laughter of someone whose trachea was pretty clear. “It has taken more than four minutes … it takes a long time to ask.”
On most days it seems that South Africa has adopted this word that has done the same with them, even more violently. They treat it in the same way Pakistan and the West Indies made with “unpredictable”, knowing that only sometimes actually applies to them and others use broad to include deficiencies that have nothing to do with snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but are about basic mistakes or simply out of the game by an opposition.
It also allows this to happen and did, in this World Cup against India, which were only a top opposition at the MCG. It happened a little less against Pakistan, when South Africa designed its own collapse caused by an attack that understood the importance of stepping up. Both those defeats have left South Africa exposed to hear a lot of hemming and see lots of clinging to them and Domingo is ready for fake coughing fits.
“I think South Africa are in a difficult situation if they win all their games before knockouts people treat them; if they do not win all their games before knockouts, people ask you,” he said. “We know we’ve come up with a clean slate. We played good cricket, we played some irregular cricket but we came here knowing that if we play to our best ability in the day, we have a good chance of winning.”