Rob Walter speaks followings Australia’s win over South Africa semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup 2023
Reporter: Who would like to take the first question? Cool. We’re just gonna start with Tenet and then we’ll go to the back to Neil.
Reporter: Hi, Rob. Hard luck. Just your initial thoughts on the game and maybe just something on the fight that the guys showed throughout when you are under the bump.
Rob Walter: Yeah, it’s gutting to lose a semi-final. But beyond that, incredibly proud of the fight shown by the lads. The first 12 overs of batting this afternoon was a serious challenge. And ultimately I think that’s what separated the game. 24 4 even to come back from 24, the way Classy and Davey Miller batted together in that partnership.
And unfortunately, Heinrich’s just getting out when the momentum was starting to turn in our favor. But then the way again, Gerald partnered with Dave to get us to two 13, obviously short. I think two 70s was the sort of total we were speaking about, but even two 50s would have proved to be a serious total there.
So, and then, yeah, I mean on the other side of it, their first 10 overs, a lot less movement in the ball, a lot less bounce, and a very different mode of attack that the two of them bring, which we’ve seen time and time again in this competition.
So probably the first 10 overs on either side separated the game. But, just to see the way that a guy like Gerald Decock, Quentin, and Gerald mixed, that’s a scary thought. Gerald Cozi ran in from the bottom end there, cramping and just putting everything on the line just to try and get the team into the game.
I mean, just guys played less than 15 games to play like that. So, I mean, there were tons of positives today, but pretty bummed to not get over the line.
Reporter: Neil, so we, where’s the mic on this side?
Reporter: Hello Rob. Can we just get the old label out of the way and get you on the record to say about the lots of crunch moments where South Africa made good decisions and stayed calm and your thoughts on let’s get the old choking thing out of the way?
Rob Walter: Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s, you need to define what a choke is for me. A choke is losing a game that you’re in a position to win. In this instance, we were behind the eight ball, right from the word go. And we fought our way back into the competition and put up a score that gave us a chance. And then again, they got off to a flyer.
So, and we fought and we put ourselves back into the game, you know, and of course, we were 30 runs or 40 runs short, but still having them seven down and a couple of things that Paul’s bouncing just short, a little inside edge that could have been taken, you know, so for me, there’s nothing even remotely close to a choke that happened out there today. That’s a serious one-test between two good teams, number turn three in the tournament.
Reporter: Cool. We’re gonna go Stu Za here and then we’ll bring it back to the side.
Reporter: Rob you and hi. You and Timba have had several long conversations throughout the season and the period since you’ve been in charge. I saw you have another long one with him after the match tonight. Can you give us some insight as to what the two of you were sharing there?
Rob Walter: Oh, firstly, I just told him my pride and of him, he marshaled the troops this evening unbelievably well, to give and get the game close, I thought is, you know, strategically the way operated along with obviously the sort of the senior heads around him on the field, the different pressures created through the field positions, I thought it was an excellent effort to defend that score.
But beyond that, you know, sometimes not easy to walk through a tournament when you aren’t delivering yourself, but the batters around you are. But the important thing is that we operate as a unit, you know? He was the lead man that got us into this tournament in the first place.
I think people forget that. So I just wanted, to make sure that he was aware of how important he is in this team and how proud I am of his efforts and the way he led throughout the tournament.
Reporter: Sit here. Where’s the mic?
Reporter: Oh, you just have to switch it on.
Reporter: Oh, there we go. Thank you. I’m just, how’s it, Rob?
Reporter: Uh, just, was it a no-win situation back this afternoon when you, you won the toss, and you do well when you bat first, but with a bit of rain around and, you know, different type of conditions is does it maybe think about it a little bit differently?
Reporter: To be honest, even the commentators I’ve spoken to, no one could predict the pitch to play like that for the first 12 overs. Had it played as we expected it to, then we would’ve backed ourselves to get two 70. Once we got two 70, ’cause it was turning so much, it spun in the evening, we knew that was going to be our end into the game.
Ultimately, we just didn’t have enough runs to work with. I had those first 10, but I looked a little bit different. It’s easy to say the back end of losing, but I think the contest would’ve been even a touch closer than it already was.
Rob Walter: I’m just going to cut across the screen. Sorry, I just got to get the mic. This site… Also, Rob, as you mentioned, it was a fascinating tactical contest. The way Timber perhaps had to put his eggs in certain baskets at certain periods of the game.
Just there, in the end, a couple of people were wondering about the strategy, notable kg. Was it purely a tactical decision or was there maybe something that prevented him from doing that? KJ had a bruised heel. That’s why we didn’t see as much of him in the contest as we would’ve expected to.
If you were watching him in the park, you would’ve seen him limping around. So, in his comeback spell that he bowled, he just wasn’t able to deliver at a hundred percent. And, with that, it also lent us to bring Aiden nine and Aiden was outstanding throughout the game.
So yeah, I mean a fit and able KG is shown throughout this competition that he was one of our leading bowlers and has been safe for some time. So it was a pity, I don’t think it was a defining moment in the game to be dead honest. But, pity that we didn’t, we couldn’t call on him in the normal way.
Reporter: Gonna go to Lou and then can we bring the mic just for fun to Mel there and then we’ll go back those. And then top, Rob, you mentioned the first 10 overs probably decided the game in your view and bearing in mind how difficult it was to bat when you guys did bat this afternoon, but were you kind of a bit disappointed with the intent of those top order guys that they didn’t fire a shot against the Aussie?
Rob Walter: To be honest, no. If you are watching and you’re watching the movements of the batters, I don’t think we’re tentative at all. Rusty Fen was across the crease. He was down the wicket, Quentin was trying to manage his way through the power play and then try to take something on and get out.
So it’s easy to say that you go out and play aggressively, but when the ball’s bouncing so steeply and is moving laterally, your options are fairly limited, to be honest. So, I mean, Aiden Markin came in with great intent, put a few boundaries away, and then again got one that stopped up on him and ended up getting caught.
So I had no issue with the intent of the top four, watching the way that they were moving in the crease. It wasn’t like we were defensive and just trying to survive. We were trying to make a play, but it was just, you had two quality bowlers that weren’t missing and they were getting some assistance. That makes it tough.
Reporter: Well, hi. Hi. Down here. Just on Tim, I mean, he said he was sitting where you were sitting yesterday saying he wasn’t a hundred percent, and you reiterated that at the top that he still wasn’t and that it would have to be good enough.
Just can you give us an idea of the conversations you had about deciding to play him and how much you talked about his captaincy qualities, was there a bit of a tossup of the risk of him playing not 100% and working out the balance of all of that?
Reporter: To be honest, if you looked at him in the field, if you didn’t know that he wasn’t a hundred percent, you wouldn’t have guessed. In terms of being a hundred, I think he was pretty close, to be fair.
He went through the entire week, he got better every day, and the only potential red flag might have been if something happened in the field. But from a batting point of view, we were confident that he would be able to go bat properly, run between wickets properly, and if anything might not have had the intensity in the field in terms of chasing balls down that we would normally have.
But you’re sort of weighing that up with having him on the field present as the captain. And for me that trumps, having his leadership and his presence on the field is everything. We spoke about it. He said, I’m not a hundred percent, but I can play and I want to be in the park. And that’s the end of the discussion. I back him a hundred percent.
Rob Walter: I can’t reiterate enough how proud I am as the coach. We’ve played some cricket in this competition that has been world-leading that’s broken records. We’ve seen young guys if like at the end of the tournament have less than 15 games to their name stand up and dominate in certain phases of the game for the team.
Different people put their hands up throughout the competition. And you can only do your best, like put everything on the line on the day-to-day. I don’t think anyone could watch and say it wasn’t through lack of effort. I don’t think anyone could, so the guys didn’t back themselves.
They didn’t back each other, we’ve spoken about that. We’ve just spoken about leaning on each other and in the tough times, and these games are, you know, bring out those moments. But throughout the game, you will see guys conversing with each other throughout the game.
You’d see them coming together, strategizing, coming up with a plan, and then just buying into it and, and leaving everything out there. So potentially there weren’t guys lying down there. I think if you went into the changing room now, it’d be pretty quiet.
The guys would be gutted, but as I said, what can you do but do your best and, leave everything in the park, you know, for your country? And I don’t think anyone could question that today’s topic.
Reporter: Rob, how’s it, you’ve got a few guys now that dressing room removal will not be at the next 50 over World Cup, we know, but Quentin, people like Rui even though he’s flying around the park tonight like a youngster.
And then, and then, so you’ve got those guys who know that they will never go to a World Cup final, and then you’ve got some youngsters like Gerald and Marco who that’s still a dream that they can do that. How do you, how do you make sure as the kind of father figure that the good stuff from tonight’s performance is passed on to the young guys?
Rob Walter: Look, it’s probably, thank goodness I don’t have to be Queenie’s father figure anymore. That’s a bonus. But, I mean, I think what if the, my take in is if you, if you think about what we’ve created and experienced here together over the last eight weeks or whatever it is, even starting in January, to be honest, but in particular, you know world Cups where you spend a lot of time together, different to bilateral series, et cetera.
And I think if you ask everyone about their experiences, I would hope that they’ll say that this was a memorable one. And, the more memorable those moments are, the tighter we are as a unit, and the more excited guys get about their cricket.
We’ve seen, as I said, guys play unbelievable cricket, probably surprise a lot of people in this room and, and around the world. And I think that is what fuels them, to come back and be better. I’m, I’m excited. I think there’s, a huge scope for us to grow as a team.
I think there’s a huge scope for us to play even better than we have, and the majority of the people that are gonna be on that journey are still in that change room.
Reporter: Given you’d said that the first 10 overs were the big difference in the game, how close were you to bowling first? And in hindsight, do you think you made a mistake by batting first?
Rob Walter: Oh, hindsight’s an exact science, isn’t it? Look, we did, we, we did speak about it, and we realized there was a little bit of moisture in the pitch, given that it’s been undercovers. I think the grounds would’ve given it a sprinkling yesterday and then, the sun wouldn’t have been out as it normally would.
So it probably didn’t drive to the degree that we, that it would’ve normally done. But with that said, it’s like a semi-final, it’s our strong suit runs on the board. Being able to create pressure that way, knowing that it was gonna turn because it had to, and knowing that if there’s a weakness in the Australian side, it is a game spin.
So we, we backed ourselves, you know, and at the end of the day, like it’s hard to predict exactly how, how tough it played this morning, this afternoon. So.
Reporter: Thank you, Rob.
|November 16, 2023
|Cricket World Cup