Jacques Kallis has claimed that South Africa enter the World Cup without any baggage of expectations attached to their side and are thus in a position to “play with freedom”.
South Africa are yet to register a World Cup triumph and have often fared poorly in the knockout stages of the tournament. The tag of ‘chokers’ has been associated with the Proteas as they have won just a single knockout game in 7 matches since their maiden appearance in the 1992 World Cup.
Faf du Plessis’s men are scheduled to take on hosts England in the tournament opener, and Kallis believes the ‘dark horse’ status of South Africa puts them in a favourable position.
Kallis alluded to the ordinary form of South Africa in recent times but expects them to put the past disappointments in the backseat.
"The results they have over the last few years haven't been as good as they would have liked maybe but this is a great place for them to be (not being talked about)," he was quoted telling the press at the World Cup opening ceremony in London on Wednesday.
"Coming here without any pressure round their neck, they can play with freedom -- South Africa are my dark horse side," added Kallis, who represented his team in 4 World Cups.
Opining on England’s dominant transformation since the 2015 World Cup debacle, Kallis said: "It has been unbelievable -- where they have come from four years ago to now is incredible."
While he believed that they come into the tournament as favourites, he felt this could be a burden on the home side.
"They come in as favourites and the guys all know their roles, but they have the pressure of being at home as well so that may hang round their neck," added Kallis, who experienced South Africa’s group-stage exit due to a Duckworth-Lewis misunderstanding in the 2003 World Cup at home soil.
"It will be interesting to see how they (England) adapt if things don't go their way -- and that can always happen in a World Cup -- how they react to that," he concluded.