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Ken Borland

Boucher building for next T20 WC with just a few tweaks

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

Following a better-than-expected performance at this year’s T20 World Cup, Proteas coach Mark Boucher knows that building towards the next showpiece event in the shortest format of the game, which will be in Australia in less than a year’s time, will require just a few tweaks to his team.

This year the Proteas have shown the benefit of consistency in selection, becoming a settled squad and putting in ever-improving performances as their confidence has grown. It is therefore obvious that the majority of the players who narrowly missed out on the semi-finals in the UAE, will be back for another go in Australia next October.

“In terms of personnel, it will be different conditions so we will have to look at the make-up of our squad,” Boucher said on Tuesday. “This World Cup was played on the subcontinent and we went with two outright seamers and two spinners.

“But maybe in Australia we will need an extra seamer because that might be what’s important for those conditions. But we have the personnel to match the conditions, although hopefully one or two guys come through the domestic system and put some pressure on for places.

“The challenge for the guys is to think differently and be smart. We found ways to win in those conditions in the UAE and now we need to make the mental shift for Australia.

“We’ve upskilled these players, but the doors are not closed for anyone. Even the former Kolpak guys, if they do really well in our system,” Boucher said.

The Proteas’ next assignment is a three-match ODI series against the Netherlands in Gauteng from November 26, but Boucher admitted they had half-an-eye on the massive Test series against a top-class India team that follows.

“The focus has shifted now to the Netherlands and obviously a series we have to win to automatically qualify for the World Cup. But we’re going to try and fit in some rest and recovery for the Test guys.

“It’s a very important Test series against India, playing them at home, up against one of the world’s best sides, while we are still very much growing, still finding our feet in certain positions.

“We did really well in the West Indies and it’s going to be nice playing back in our own conditions, but we’re up against a top-quality team.

“It’s an opportunity for us to do something special, but if we don’t beat India then we must make sure we learn from it and come out a better side,” Boucher said.

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