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Ken Borland

Surely Hendricks must now keep his place? 0

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas play their final game on Tuesday before heading off to Australia for the T20 World Cup, the deciding match in their ODI series in India, and surely Reeza Hendricks must now be a part of every white-ball game for at least the next month?

Hendricks belatedly played his first match in India at the weekend, brought into the XI because regular captain Temba Bavuma was ill, and looked pure class he stroked 74 off 76 balls on a tricky, low-and-slow pitch in Ranchi.

It means Hendricks has now scored 370 runs in his last six innings for South Africa, dating back to July. That is the sort of form that it would be criminal to waste, especially for a batting line-up that has had some horror collapses of late.

Because Hendricks is in the T20 World Cup squad but Janneman Malan is not, one would expect Malan to be the player who makes way on Tuesday if Bavuma is fit to play again. Although Malan’s overall career ODI stats are still superb, in his last 12 innings, he averages just 24.83 at a strike-rate of only 69.95.

Of course, Hendricks should also be in the XI at the T20 World Cup, but he would have to replace captain Bavuma. But if ever there was a good argument for leaving out the appointed skipper, the difference in confidence and output that Hendricks would bring has to be it.

While Bavuma’s position is the major talking point heading into the World Cup, the form of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is also concerning. Sixteen months ago he was first on the T20 bowling rankings, but his performances have been on the slide in India.

It has never been his favourite place to play, and India’s ruthless aggression towards him has made his life difficult, knocking his confidence.

Hopefully he will be out of this weirdly erratic phase in Australia, because he plays an important role in South Africa’s T20 team. Shamsi was also ill over the weekend and his wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was missed by the Proteas in the second ODI, as Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer belted their way to victory by seven wickets with 25 balls to spare.

Boucher will be okay as lucrative IPL gig beckons; but who could take over? 0

Posted on October 27, 2022 by Ken

Following the announcement that Mark Boucher will be stepping down as Proteas coach after the T20 World Cup next month, it has emerged that the record-breaking wicketkeeper is lining up a lucrative Indian Premier League gig as the next step in his coaching career.

Boucher’s success with the South African T20 team – they are currently ranked third in the format – has attracted the attention of IPL franchises, who will also remember the stint he served as an assistant with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2016.

It is believed though that Mumbai Indians are after his services to lead the Cape Town franchise in the new SA T20 competition early next year. This could provide Boucher with a stepping stone into becoming their coach for the IPL, which would be one of the best-paid jobs in cricket.

Mumbai finished 10th and last in this year’s IPL under Mahela Jayawardene, a massively disappointing performance considering they won the tournament five times between 2013 and 2020.

CSA could announce an interim coach to take over from Boucher in the coming summer, before making a permanent appointment.

So who does South African cricket have who could take over the Proteas’ reins?

Robin Peterson

The spin-bowling all-rounder is probably the perfect candidate to succeed Boucher. Peterson has considerable international experience, having represented South Africa in 15 Tests, 79 ODIs and 21 T20s between 2002 and 2014. He has also done a wonderful job as coach of the Warriors, considering their limited resources, and they were pipped to the four-day title by the Northerns Titans last season. They are currently fourth in the overall Division One standings, ahead of teams like Western Province, KZN Dolphins and the Free State Knights.

Peterson also favours an extremely positive brand of cricket, his ability to empower the players being perfectly suited to the direction in which the modern game is going.

Malibongwe Maketa

The current owner of the SA A coaching job, the 41-year-old is next in line in terms of the pipeline. Maketa was also the assistant coach of the Proteas under Ottis Gibson from 2017-2019, but the outbreak of the Covid pandemic has meant the SA A team has hardly played in recent times and his coaching aspirations have been set back. But his tactical acumen and player management are both excellent. He represented Border in his playing days and is a former head coach of the Warriors.

Wandile Gwavu

Gwavu has enjoyed great success coaching the Lions and has won five trophies since 2019 when he took over from CSA’s current director of cricket, Enoch Nkwe, as head coach. And that will also be in his favour because he is almost a protégé of Nkwe’s and believes in the same principles of good structures and empowering the players. They are certainly on the same wavelength.

Counting against Gwavu is that he is still very young in coaching terms – just 35 years old – and he has no international experience.

Mandla Mashimbyi

Mashimbyi took over as Titans coach in the middle of the 2019/20 season when Boucher took over the Proteas role, managing to rebuild a team that dominated the second decade of the 21st Century but was in need of new blood.

Leading Northerns to the four-day title last season, as well as runner-up finishes in both the white-ball tournaments, was an outstanding achievement with a new-look side.

But the 41-year-old would also be taking a step into the unknown at international level, having never been there before.

Nkwe’s focus now on winning the World Cup 0

Posted on October 24, 2022 by Ken

Enoch Nkwe has been hard at work on Cricket South Africa’s pipelines since he began as director of cricket on July 1, but now the focus is shifting to ensuring the Proteas can win the T20 World Cup in Australia next month.

South Africa’s awful record at World Cups is not something Nkwe has shied away from, and he believes he has a plan to secure that long-awaited trophy.

“It’s been an exciting last couple of months, but we can’t hide away from the amount of work to come on our pipeline, which is our most important investment,” Nkwe said this week.

“But the focus is now on our men’s side, we want them to win the World Cup and we have to make sure their preparation gives them every chance of doing that.

“The challenge in the past has been how to confront knockout games, and we’ve been engaging with the coaches on how to overcome that. It’s actually pretty simple – when we get there we have to back ourselves.

“We need to stick to our identity and what has worked for the team, the system that’s in place. We’ve been working on different models to help the players to get through and win a World Cup,” Nkwe said.

At this stage, that does not include recruiting the services of a sports psychologist, with the Proteas rather focusing on their strengths, like their powerful bowling attack.

“We’ve spoken to the coaches and we did look into whether we need a psychologist or not, but SACA [players’ union] also plays a role in helping individuals,” Nkwe said.

“We believe in our blueprint and we speak a lot about pressure and how it’s about trusting the blueprint, whether we are coming from behind or we’re in front.

“We want to throw the first punch and then stay in control. We have impact players now like Rilee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs who can take the game forward.

“Of course no coach or psychologist can walk on to the field and actually play, it’s up the players,” Nkwe said.

Bavuma will be the captain of the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup 0

Posted on October 21, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia next month will be announced on Tuesday and Temba Bavuma will be the captain of that side.

Bavuma has returned to action again after the torn elbow tendon that ruled him out of the entire tour of England, and has played four matches for the Central Gauteng Lions in the Namibia Global T20 that finished on Friday. He scored 103 runs in those four innings, including a determined 56 off 46 balls against the Lahore Qalandars, at a strike-rate of 122.61.

Reeza Hendricks has been in fine form in that same tournament, racking up 257 runs off just 166 balls in his four innings. He was the leading run-scorer in the event by miles and scored a matchwinning 94 not out off 59 deliveries in Friday’s final. Given his spectacular displays in England with the Proteas, he is a certainty for the 15-man World Cup squad.

Heinrich Klaasen has also done well for the Proteas this year and is likely to be included as the back-up wicketkeeper to Quinton de Kock, while Rilee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs showed exactly the sort of aggression and intent in England that will be required in Australia.

That unfortunately means Rassie van der Dussen, such a stalwart of the Proteas team in recent years, is likely to miss out, especially since there are doubts over whether he will be fit, given the fractured finger he suffered in the second Test.

But even if he was fit, Van der Dussen, whose strike-rate in his last dozen matches has been 115.20, would probably lose out anyway because De Kock, Bavuma, Hendricks, Markram and Rossouw are all vying for the same spots in the top four of the batting order.

Three members of South Africa’s inspirational Test pace attack – Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje – should make the squad, with all-rounders Dwaine Pretorius and Wayne Parnell, who took a rousing five-wicket haul in the Proteas’ last T20, against Ireland, as back-up.

Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj will be the spinners.

Andile Phehlukwayo, who has the ability to pull off the miraculous with the white ball, but has not been able to perform consistently enough, is likely to miss out on selection, as is the exciting Marco Jansen.

Likely squad – Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Rilee Rossouw.

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