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We let ourselves down, admits skipper Smith

Fireworks over, skipper Graeme Smith came in for the customary media interaction and immediately faced a barraged of questions, demanding an explanation for yet another embarrassing exit. Nilankur Das reports.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2011 01:06 IST
Nilankur Das

A South African television crewmember was spitting fire outside the media conference room as the stadium lights dimmed for the fireworks to begin.

Fireworks over, skipper Graeme Smith came in for the customary media interaction and immediately faced a barraged of questions, demanding an explanation for yet another embarrassing exit.

Someone, quoting a message posted on a social networking site, said, "Are South Africa a bunch of chokers or jokers?"

An emotional Smith stopped taking questions and said, "There is nothing that I can say right now that will help the fans feel any better. We feel terrible. We have come over here, given our best; we are committed to our skills.

"Today, we were disappointing. We let ourselves down; we have let a lot of people down back home.

"When the team gets on to the plane and gets home, there will be daggers, probably swords, thrown at us and this group of 25 will have to take it on the chin. It's been going on since 1992. In future, it will be nice if South Africa won a World Cup. With the type of players we had, we deserved it in some way," Smith, who played his last ODI as captain, said.

He definitely would have wanted to leave on a high but New Zealand - and fate - had willed otherwise. "I have just turned 30 and I still have a lot to offer. I got the captaincy at 22. It's eight years now. It's about the pressure of the job and I am looking forward to carrying on as a batter.

"I have not performed at my best in the World Cup and I would like to take some time away now and work on a few things and come back, hopefully, stronger in the next phase of my career.

"I am very proud of my records and whatever I have been able to achieve as captain. And I really want to be a good support to the guy who gets the opportunity to pick up the reins in the future," he said.