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Ken Borland

McKenzie back & Maketa & Conrad appointed as chief breeders of talent 0

Posted on September 11, 2020 by Ken

While Neil McKenzie will return to South African cricket as a batting coach, the appointment of Malibongwe Maketa and Shukri Conrad as the chief breeders of talent for the Proteas will arguably have an even greater effect as director of cricket Graeme Smith announced his high performance management team on Thursday.

McKenzie, who played 58 Tests and 64 ODIs for the Proteas, is the new batting lead and while this means he will replace Jacques Kallis as the batting consultant for the national team, his appointment is a full-time one and he will work with batsmen at all levels of the pipeline.

Conrad, as the new SA U19 men’s lead, and Maketa, who is now the full-time South Africa A and National Academy lead, have been given key roles in that pipeline.

Maketa was a Proteas assistant coach from 2017-2019 as well as enjoying a successful time in charge of the Eastern Cape Warriors, so the 39-year-old knows exactly what is required for talented cricketers to progress through the system. He told The Citizen on Thursday that he sees himself as the go-between for the Proteas management and the franchise coaches.

“They are two very important roles and fortunately I’ll have a lot of highly qualified coaches around me as we try to prepare cricketers for both the franchises and the Proteas. The Academy is there to empower the players with skills and I will be assisting them with their game-plans and execution. It’s great to be back in a full-time role with Cricket South Africa.

“I’ll be looking to assist Mark Boucher and Enoch Nkwe in creating a bigger base for the Proteas and my contract runs concurrently with their’s. It’s also about monitoring and identifying talent and lending a hand to the franchise coaches, making sure we are all speaking the same language, from Graeme, Mark and Enoch to the franchises. I intend to get my hands dirty and throw lots of balls,” Maketa said.

Conrad, a vastly-experienced coach who has been heading up the National Academy, will now take over the crucial U19 programme.

“I’ve loved every minute of it at the academy and I know what is required to get to those levels as I now get involved earlier in the pipeline. The U19s are a great challenge because it is such an important stage in development and South African cricket as a whole. The challenge is to ensure we give every young cricketer every opportunity to play and perform.

“Excellence in coaching is critical at provincial and school level, and schools have a massive role to play. I would like to work together with them, private coaches and the Hubs and RPC coaches because we have been in our silos for far too long. Plus we have a scouting system and a wonderful database run by John Bailey and Niels Momberg to ensure nobody falls through the cracks,” Conrad said.

Other appointments confirmed on Thursday were those of Eddie Khoza as the Acting Head of Cricket Pathways, Vincent Barnes as the High-Performance Bowling Lead, Dinesha Devnarain as the Women’s SA U19 and National Academy Head Coach, and Dr Shuaib Manjra as the Chief Medical Officer. Follwing the rather dilly stink created over the appointment of certain consultants, these announcements should be sweet-smelling for the majority of SA cricket fans. They all have considerable amounts to add to the high performance programme.

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