Cricket in South Africa has undergone a massive transformation in the last two weeks. The appointments of multiple new but old faces behind the scenes and in the squad will lead to success on the field. Here are your new Director of Cricket, Team Manager, Batting Consultant, Bowling Coach, and CEO of Cricket South Africa. These are the men tasked with moving South African cricket forward from one of the most tumultuous times in recent history.
The former South African opening batsman and the captain have recently taken up the role of director of cricket for South Africa. A role in recent times that has come under much scrutiny as the teams’ on-field performances has been well below par. The former interim DoC. was questioned for off-field matters as well but that is a story for another day. As DoC Graeme will be tasked with both improving the team in the short term while seeing that the long term future of the Proteas is taken care of as well. First thing on the agenda and most former players’ lips is a restructure of the current domestic set up. Many have called to revert to a system that will break the franchises as they currently stand back into the provincial setup they were before the franchise system was introduced. This would create a larger pool of players and create scope for players who may have thought they missed their chance. A tall order when you consider the fact that Smith will only be in the role until he leaves for the IPL in 3 months. Now, who knows whether he will be back or not? I suppose on-field performance and validity of his plan might determine his fate.
The plucky right-handed wicket-keeper batsman during his playing career always seemed to be the man for a crisis. He would come in with the top order in tatters and make sure SA got something respectable on the board. At face value, it would appear his long-time Captain and friend Graeme Smith has called upon Mark’s never say die attitude to guide the current Protea setup into safer waters. After a 3-0 whitewash in India, a series where we looked horribly out of our depth, Mark will be tasked with restoring confidence in what has to be a shattered dressing room. Boucher will be surrounded with familiar faces as Smith has announced the arrival of bowling Coach Charl Langeveldt and batting consultant Jacques Kallis. Both of them said they would be helping for the summer. Whether that means they won’t be involved beyond that is unsure at this point but one would assume that if the side does well they will become permanent fixtures. Mark himself has had some domestic success winning four trophies in two seasons with the Titans and will hope to instil that winning mentality into the Protea team.
Arguably, the greatest all-rounder to ever walk the earth Kallis had an amazing career for the Proteas. He was mister dependable right up until he hung up his boots. Even though it looked like he could play a few more years, he called time and went out on top like a true champion. Now, he has been called upon once again to help his country in its time of strife. Jacques has been named batting consultant for the Proteas for the summer. With the 50 overworld champs coming to our shores for the summer he will have his hands full trying to get the best out of the Proteas who have largely underperformed with the bat for a couple of years now. It will be up to Jacques to see that the boys are well prepared and ready to face the stiff challenge the English bowling attack will bring. Jacques brings a wealth of experience having been involved in multiple franchise systems around the world in various T20 competitions. Jacques will have to get the best out of a top-six that has flattered to deceive thus far. While we have seen new names in the test setup, we do not know what the top order will look like. I guess that Faf, Quinton and Elgar will be given the lion share of the responsibility, as these are the batters with the most test runs in a largely inexperienced line-up.
The former South African bowler was widely regarded as one of the smartest bowlers around. The exceptional death bowler of his era he forged a reputation for outsmarting batsmen and this was never more prevalent than in his later playing years when he continued to take wickets in domestic cricket at an exceptional rate even though his pace had long since gone. His attention to detail and skills with the ball were second to none. Charl will bring this to the national side now in a coaching capacity. As bowling coach, he will help bowlers figure out ways of getting wickets as he did for many years. Charl had pace in his younger years but was never an out and out quick bowler, rather he relied on his skills with ball in hand to take wickets. Slower balls, Yorkers, in swingers, outswingers and knuckleballs were all part of his arsenal before the t20 game made “skills” so popular. He was ahead of his time and will hope to pass on some of his forward-thinking to today’s generation of South African bowlers.
Last but by no means least, the interim CEO of Cricket South Africa has possibly the biggest task of all these men. He has to right the ship both on and off the field. On the field, I think he has started well with a complete turnaround of staff. Bringing in people he knows, people he can depend on in Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt. Even keeping Enoch Nkwe in, as an assistant to Mark is a smart move, as Nkwe will know this team well having recently had a stint as interim team manager. Off the field, most would argue is where Faul has a difficult task ahead of him. Whom can he trust if anyone within CSA? There are sponsors pulling out and player associations threatening legal action. On top of all of this, there have been calls for a restructuring of the current domestic setup. Jacques well and truly has his hands full but as the CEO of the Titans, he has shown how things should be run. The Titans are one of the best-run franchises in SA cricket and one of the most successful. The Titans always seem to have their ducks in a row and Faul seems to be at the heart of that. I’m pretty sure he has no faith in the current board members of CSA as they have overseen the demise of our beloved Proteas over the last 2 years and done nothing about it and s such I believe before long he will most likely replace most of the current CSA board members with people he trust to do the job. Ensuring the sponsors of his competence will be high on his to-do list if not right at the top. Sponsorships make up the bulk of CSA’s income and losing sponsorships will almost entirely ensure the demise of cricket in South Africa. Faul seems to be the right man for the job but only time will tell.