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Ken Borland

Don’t see domestic cricket & SA A as an inconvenience, says new convenor of selectors Mpitsang 0

Posted on October 23, 2020 by Ken

New national convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said on Wednesday that it was important domestic cricket and the SA A side are not seen as an inconvenience but as crucial parts of the selection system leading up to players being chosen for the Proteas.

The former ODI international’s appointment was announced by Cricket South Africa on Wednesday and the 40-year-old from Kimberley has been involved as a scout, a bowling consultant, selector and assistant coach through various levels of the pipeline, as well as being a television commentator.

Mpitsang acknowledged that his focus as convenor of selectors for the national side will have to shift somewhat from being a spotter and developer of talent into a sifter of talent to choose finished products ready to shine in international cricket. Which is where he sees the franchise game and the SA A team playing a crucial role.

“In terms of the Proteas, when guys come into the side, the reference point is how well they have done in domestic cricket; we want them to transfer that into international cricket and we want to make sure they can dominate at that level too. Some players flourish immediately with the Proteas, while others take a bit of time, but it’s all about playing cricket at the right intensity.

“That’s where the importance of the domestic system comes in; that plays a vital role in providing the cricketers. Our high performance programme is also critical. Franchise cricket and the SA A team might not totally bridge the gap to the Proteas, but it’s important that we give prospects some sort of international standard exposure, which is where the A side comes in with their tours to Australia and India, playing in those conditions,” Mpitsang told The Citizen on Wednesday.

The former pace bowler who took 245 first-class wicket at an average of 29.80 admitted that the health – or lack thereof – of the Proteas Test team was his greatest challenge going into the job.

“In terms of challenges, how the national team performs is obviously the focus. Results don’t always give a true reflection, but as a starting point, the Test team hasn’t really been great recently. We pride ourselves on being a strong Test nation and we need to turn those results around, we need to find a successful formula.

“Obviously there’s the issue of the new Test captain and for that a real leader is needed. I have some ideas, but we need to discuss that as a team and then I can see who the leaders are. I also need to understand where the Proteas system is at; I’ve been involved at all levels of our game, but I need to understand from the inside, see what the Proteas’ true culture is and then I can sit down and decide on the way to go,” Mpitsang said.

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