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Ken Borland

The vengeful wrath of a spouse whose partner has committed adultery 0

Posted on July 04, 2022 by Ken

Trawling social media (which always leaves one feeling a bit dirty), one would think Cricket South Africa’s newly-appointed director of cricket, Enoch Nkwe, is filled with the sort of vengeful wrath of a spouse whose partner has committed adultery.

South Africans, it seems, love the drama of confrontation and aggression, especially if we can throw in an element of racial bias. No wonder we are such a sadly divided nation.

Aside from the delicious irony of Nkwe having gone from being Mark Boucher’s assistant coach to effectively his boss in the space of less than a year, it is highly unlikely that the new director of cricket is going to come in and destabilise the national team – especially since they are clearly heading in the right direction – by firing the coach.

And with CSA now playing it by the book in terms of corporate governance, any perceived enmity between the two has not only been grossly overstated but would also not be grounds for dismissing Boucher.

While admittedly it was a difficult marriage between the two when Boucher became head coach in December 2019, Nkwe being ‘demoted’ from interim team director to his assistant, the new director of cricket told me personally a couple of months back that he had no issues with Boucher personally.

His much-publicised resignation and his eventual decision not to testify at Boucher’s disciplinary hearing were never about the man himself. The reason why their work relationship never clicked is because, at heart, they are both head coaches.

South Africa have often got it wrong when it comes to their assistant coaches for the national team. Being the Proteas assistant coach is not like being the head coach of a franchise, the responsibilities are totally different. It is why someone like Malibongwe Maketa is much better off being the head coach of the SA A team than he would be in some understudy role with the Proteas.

It is a systemic error and Nkwe is exactly the sort of clear thinker to put it right as director of cricket.

At CSA’s AGM last October, the grim financial picture of the organisation was shown, with a nett loss of R221 million in 2020/21. This was largely due to broadcast revenue plummeting and there was an acknowledgement that to fix the situation, the Proteas had to be a drawcard, strong enough for the Big Three to want to play against regularly.

Between Boucher and the previous director of cricket, Graeme Smith, that vital reputation overseas has been restored. The immense respect Smith is held in internationally, especially in India, was crucial in getting those ‘sugar daddies’ into bed.

Nkwe will be a different sort of director of cricket. Apart from being an excellent coach, the 39-year-old is passionate about developing structures for the game, from grassroots all the way to where the sponsors want to pay their big money.

Nkwe’s appointment is an investment in the game at all levels and just reward for someone who has maintained his dignity despite the ignominy of his treatment by the previous CSA Board.

But then Boucher has also been treated disgracefully and I like to believe that there will a professional relationship between the two and a respect for their different roles.

Boucher may well continue to be the public face of our cricket as he steers the national team, but Nkwe has a vital role to play in ensuring the pipeline, everything that feeds into the Proteas, is operating smoothly and efficiently.

Together, they could actually form quite a formidable team. Nkwe is one of the leading cricket brains in the country and his input into the national team and all levels below it can only be beneficial.

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