New Delhi - Jacques Kallis on Tuesday said he was fully fit for the opening Cricket World Cup clash against the West Indies and blasted critics for hanging the “chokers” tag around South African necks.
Kallis, the number one all-rounder in one-day cricket with 11 002 runs and 259 wickets from 307 matches, said it was unfair to suggest that South Africans crumbled under pressure.
“A lot is made in the media about the choker thing. We don’t even think about it. I think the media uses this tag far too often, in fact every time the team loses a match,” he said.
“They should go and look up the meaning of chokers in the dictionary first. This tag does not haunt us. Eleven of our 15 players will be playing their first World Cup so it’s not something we are even thinking about.”
South Africa have yet to win one-day cricket’s top prize despite making it to the semi-finals three times.
Kallis said his team will be on top of their game against the West Indies.
“They are a dangerous side,” he said. “They have a few players who can change the game on their day. We have been on top of them recently and played some good cricket.
“And that’s what we will look to do again. Play well and put the pressure back on them.”
Kallis also defended packing their World Cup side with three specialist spinners.
“We know that the wickets are going to help the spinners. Having three specialists gives us an advantage and a variety to choose from.
“We have not had a leg-spinner in our squad for a long time, the last time we had one was Paul Adams. A leg-spinner brings something different with him. We also have an off-spinner and a left-arm spinner.
“So we have a good variety which can be used differently according to the conditions. We have covered all bases and we just need to deliver the goods now.”
Kallis dismissed suggestions that his side may be rusty after having to wait for nearly two and a half-weeks in India before playing their first game.
“Our preparation has been very good. In fact, we have never been as well prepared before at any World Cup. The guys are relaxed and raring to have a go. We are used to the conditions.
“We have been gelling as a unit. Each guy knows his role in the team. When you don’t know where you fit, you tend to be nervous.
“As a senior player in the squad, I am telling the youngsters to enjoy every minute of it.”