The Proteas batsmen are sukkeling big time with World Cup stage fright.
That’s the best explanation batting coach Dale Benkenstein can come up with as South Africa’s tournament hopes hang by a thread after three losses and no result from their four games to date.
Manne like Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Aiden Markram have looked like deers in headlights in England and are fast becoming a liability to coach Ottis Gibson’s cause.
But Benkie, who worked hard with Amla on his confidence and technique ahead of the competition, reckons it’s a mental block for the men charged with getting runs on the board for South Africa.
He says: “The guys have been nervous, and it’s shown.
“At the moment, we are not firing. And that is something we have to get right.
“The frustrating thing is that the guys are in form. They’re playing well, but it’s a mental thing. They’re getting in and then getting out.”
Amla has scored just 25 runs at the tournament. In his first match out, the ace batsman took a Jofra Archer bouncer to the grille and was forced to retire hurt before missing the next match with concussion.
Duminy has been out twice for single figures when facing spinners, while Markram may need a bit of backing having scored heavily for Hampshire ahead of the World Cup.
But Benkenstein can’t figure out a solution to the problem and just hopes they come right.
He says: “Putting your finger on why they’re going out when they have is almost impossible.
“I think they are all feeling really good, and we have to believe that a big score is around the corner.
“I feel like they’re batting well, but not doing enough. We’re a game away, a hundred away, a win away from getting that confidence.
“These guys have done it before.
“From a coaching perspective, we just want to remind them that they’re good players, and help them remember what it felt like when they were playing well.
“You don’t become a bad player in a week.”