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Ken Borland

Boucher acknowledges worst result of his tenure, implies players to blame 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

Mark Boucher finished his tenure as Proteas coach with what he acknowledged was the worst result of his three-year term, but he absolved the coaching staff of any blame in the shock T20 World Cup loss to the Netherlands, implying the fault was squarely with the players.

“As coach, yes, it is the worst of the lot. It’s frustrating because as a player you still have a say, but as coach you leave it up to others to perform. Looking at the coaching staff, we ticked every box and we thought the guys were in a very good space,” Boucher said.

“At the start of the tournament, we would have taken having to beat the Netherlands to get into the semi-finals. We’ve got a good team and we believe on a given day we can beat anyone.

“That’s why the loss is so disappointing and we only have ourselves to blame. We were never really in the game, the Netherlands could come out and play brave cricket and we just weren’t able to get the momentum back on our side.

“We mustn’t look at one or two players, we need to look at the whole squad and they simply were not good enough today. The bottom line is we did not play well enough,” Boucher said.

Many articles have been devoted to why the Proteas consistently under-perform at World Cups, but Boucher said the team had shown their mettle in tight wins before, like over India in their third match of the tournament.

“I believe each world cup exit has been an individual event, although I know there is a lot of history. We have really played some good cricket in the T20 format, but we lost to Pakistan and looked flat today.

“The energy just did not seem to be there and we did not bowl or bat the way we should have. We certainly should have been better, but it just didn’t happen.

“But it’s not the only upset in this tournament, some very good sides have been beaten by so-called ‘lesser’ teams. The more we don’t do well at World Cups, it does start to play on your mind.

“But we’ve played tight games and won. I’m gutted, to be honest. The players really deserved to give themselves a better chance,” Boucher said.

It’s been an eon since Bavuma spent decent time at the crease 0

Posted on January 13, 2023 by Ken

Another side-effect of the Proteas’ unfortunate washout in their opening T20 World Cup game against Zimbabwe was that Temba Bavuma only got to face two balls and it now seems like an eon since the captain was able to spend decent time at the crease.

Bavuma scored two not out but sending him in to open in what was then a nine-over game raised some eyebrows given his own comments the day before about how important nett run-rate is. But coach Mark Boucher, even though he said “the World Cup is cut-throat”, added that the skipper will continue to be in the team until he finds his groove.

The last time Bavuma faced 30 balls for the Proteas was eight innings ago when he scored 35 against India in a T20 in Cuttack on June 12. Since then he suffered an elbow tendon injury and then fell ill when South Africa returned to India for white-ball series earlier this month.

“It’s tough on Reeza Hendricks,” Boucher admitted, “but Temba is back in his place, he was injured, he owned the spot before and he is the captain as well.

“He hasn’t been in great form and we wanted him to get game-time in India, but he got sick. And then today [Monday] he was out there a long time but he didn’t face many balls because Quinton de Kock maximised his time.

“But he’s been batting really well in the nets, these conditions suit his game a lot more and hopefully he will find some good form. We will keep giving Temba opportunities to find some rhythm.

“There might have been a thought about sending another hitter in to open, but you don’t play for rain. It was nine overs and I thought it was a really good opportunity for Temba to go out and express himself,” Boucher said.

Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was also unfortunate to be on the sidelines in Hobart and he could well return for Thursday’s game against Bangladesh in Sydney, if the weather is clear and the usual long boundaries, especially straight, are in play at the SCG.

“There are other players in the 15 who are also on the sideline, we’ve got good depth and options,” Boucher said. “Playing the extra seamer against Zimbabwe was quite hard on Shamo, but I think it was the right decision.

“We selected the team knowing that there was rain around, giving ourselves the best opportunity if the game was shortened. But all 15 warrant selection, we have great back-up.

“We have a good idea of the venue, we know the conditions and the boundary sizes. Bangladesh made a good start to their campaign, they bowled really well, although they stumbled a bit in the middle of their innings.

“You just need one or two players to really come off in T20 and you win, and we believe we have good quality batsmen and bowlers, so quite a few chances of someone coming off,” Boucher said.

‘The officials make the decisions and we have to live with them’ – Boucher 0

Posted on January 13, 2023 by Ken

Proteas coach Mark Boucher said it is the officials who make the decisions and the teams have to live with them after their opening T20 World Cup match against Zimbabwe was called off with South Africa on the brink of victory at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Monday.

South Africa, inspired by an extraordinary Quinton de Kock innings, were 51/0 after just three overs, needing only 13 more runs in four overs to win the match. Rain after the toss had seen the match reduced to nine overs a side, Zimbabwe electing to bat first and scoring 79/5, with the game being reduced by two more overs in the second over of the Proteas chase after the rain returned.

Much of the match was played in a steady drizzle, but the umpires eventually ended the contest when the rain became harder and Zimbabwe were starting to voice their displeasure about slipping around on the field. Bowler Richard Ngarava had already left the field with what looked like a twisted ankle, and Zimbabwe coach David Houghton said he didn’t believe a ball should have been bowled.

“They were tough conditions, but we are here to play in the World Cup, we wanted to play and it seemed both captains did,” Boucher said after the No Result.

“The officials are there though to make those decisions and we have to live with it. We bowled with a ball that was quite wet as well.

“We were in a very good position, so we can walk away thinking we were hard done by. If Zimbabwe had been in our position, they would have wanted to play on.

“The positive is that it wasn’t a do-or-die game, we are still in control of our destiny. We’re in a tough group, but it is still very early in the competition. We’ve possibly got to win every game now,” Boucher said.

While the Proteas will mourn the loss of a point, Boucher was delighted by the positive, energetic start his team made to the tournament. None more so than De Kock, who blazed 47 not out off just 18 balls, with eight fours and a six.

“It’s disappointing to get four-fifths of the way through the game and then have to go off,” Boucher said. “To get so close and have it taken away from you, that’s the most frustrating part.

“But rather now than later and I’m just happy with the intensity they showed in the field and Quinny played some special shots, which I think sends a message as well.

“He showed that he is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and to see him play with that freedom was really good. Sometimes guys tense up at a World Cup, but he seized the moment.

“There’s not much more we could have done, we maximised what we could. So we have no regrets over what we did, we just needed ten more balls to finish it off,” Boucher said.

Technique & mental strength meant to be safe ports in the storm, but weaknesses for Proteas 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Technique and mental strength are meant to be two safe ports in the storm for batsmen reaching the end of a testing tour of India, but Proteas coach Mark Boucher admitted on Tuesday that those were two areas of weakness as South Africa were bundled out for a miserable 99 all out and thrashed by seven wickets with 30.5 overs to spare in the decisive third ODI in Delhi.

On the eve of their departure for Australia and the T20 World Cup, it is perhaps not too surprising that the batting line-up was not fully focused on the task at hand on Tuesday, which was unsurprisingly fatal against an Indian team full of second-stringers desperate to get into the first-choice XI.

“Coming off a long tour of England and some guys were at the Caribbean Premier League as well, with that sort of schedule you can’t expect the players to be up for every single game,” Boucher said after the series loss.

“That’s when you rely on your technique and mentality to pull you through, but unfortunately we were a bit weak in both of those today. There were soft dismissals up front and technical faults.

“Keeping the players mentally and physically fresh is crucial, we need to get that mental side up, along with the technical. But tonight we did not rock up and India bowled very well.

“They showed good aggression and intent. We need to make sure the guys are really up for the World Cup games, that will bring the best results. We are really gearing ourselves up for that big competition. It will be okay,” Boucher said.

The coach acknowledged that the team were looking forward to playing in Australian conditions that are much more like their own.

“Conditions will be very different in Australia and I think they will suit our batsmen, but especially our fast bowlers more. You need to keep your aggression up over there, and we have good pace and bounce.

“Although I thought we did not show that enough in these ODIs, India showed far more aggression. But the way Anrich Nortje ran in tonight was a positive sign for me, especially going into conditions where he will be more effective,” Boucher said.

Heinrich Klaasen showed that he is your banker when it comes to playing spin, top-scoring for the Proteas with his 34.

Opener Janneman Malan made 15 off 27 balls, but that included three fours, which means he scored just three runs off his other 24 deliveries. That failure to rotate the strike puts your batting line-up under pressure.

But credit must go to the Indian bowlers, especially Mohammed Siraj, who removed both Malan and Reeza Hendricks (3), and the spinners as South Africa were 26/3 in the powerplay.

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