Ex-Proteas selector slams 'emotionally brittle' squad for 'soft' performance against Lankans

Johannesburg, July 21 (ANI): Former South African national selector Craig Matthews has slammed the current squad for showing a 'soft' performance against Sri Lanka.

According to Sport24, South Africa's bizarre 180-run setback in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday has raised alarm bells as the team continue to look a long way off the top of the ODI pecking order, and possibly headed primarily downward.

The report further said that with Sri Lankan batting star Kumar Sangakkara, armed with an intensified passion for scoring runs against the Proteas in home conditions at both Test and ODI level, getting 169 runs alone, the defeat was South Africa's worst to the Lankans and the most bad of the Proteas' losses in the AB de Villiers captaincy tenure.

Given that performance, former Test and ODI fast-medium bowler Matthews, renowned once for his devotion to tight lines and lengths, observed that the side seemed to show emotional brittleness.

According to Mathews, the squad had shown a soft performance against Sri Lanka, adding that past South African sides have usually been harder even when they were not always winning.

Meanwhile, the report dismissed the South African 'three-pronged' spin attack comprising of Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso and JP Duminy as non-threatening, and said that the batting was also affected by a dormant performance of a senior middle-order player like Faf du Plessis, whose average has dipped below 30 despite him having 38 caps.

To improve the side, the report advised that foreign trips for the team should feature at least one mandatory two-day 'first-class' sort of fixture to give the batsmen more opportunity for time in the middle and bowlers to get enough overs beneath belts.

The report also hoped for veteran Hashim Amla, who has opted out of the tour with crippling neck spasms, to be deemed fit enough to restore much-needed stability and experience to the upper-order batting. (ANI)

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