Boucher impressed with the positive input of Proteas youngsters

South Africa coach Mark Boucher has used the time afforded by the Covid-19 crisis to reflect on how the youngster players have stood up to the task in support of the more established, senior players, giving hope for positive performances for the Proteas once play is able to resume.
South Africa coach Mark Boucher has used the time afforded by the Covid-19 crisis to reflect on how the youngster players have stood up to the task in support of the more established, senior players, giving hope for positive performances for the Proteas once play is able to resume.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/ LEE WARREN

The testing cricketing summer meant that SA had to throw some young players in the deep end across all formats.

Some sank‚ but the likes of Janneman Malan‚ Kyle Verreynne and Lutho Sipamla did what was expected of them‚ especially in the white ball sections of the respective tours.

While cricket and international sport have been suspended indefinitely because of Covid-19‚ SA coach Mark Boucher had time to reflect on how the youngsters turned around SA’s season.

“I was pleased with the youngsters and what we wanted to do was to give chances to youngsters when we rested senior players,” he said.

“In a way‚ it was throwing players into the deep end and seeing how they were going to respond. They did well and we were in a pleasant situation at the end of the season.

“A lot of guys were in form and it allowed us to select from a bigger pool of players. That poses a couple of headaches. When you give chances to youngsters‚ you don’t give six or seven of them a run‚ you blend them with senior players.

However‚ Boucher doesn’t feel that senior franchise players should be jettisoned. Rassie van der Dussen was one of those who came through for the national team in what was a difficult summer.

We’re not too worried about age at the moment‚ but no senior franchise player is being overlooked. When you perform at franchise level‚ you should get a chance

“We’re not too worried about age at the moment‚ but no senior franchise player is being overlooked. When you perform at franchise level‚ you should get a chance‚” Boucher said.

The limited overs improvements didn’t mask the disappointing Test return, where SA were well beaten by England.

The series was Boucher’s first as coach and he received plenty of lessons. The upturn of performances in the limited overs series against England and Australia was the silver lining in the dark Test cloud.

“It was quite disappointing to be honest. We didn’t perform like we wanted to perform,” the coach said.

“As a new coaching staff‚ we asked some questions and we got some answers.

“Some were good and some were bad. The nice thing for us was the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the short format cricket.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do with our Test cricket and there’s a lot of rebuilding with regards to our team. The exciting part was the white-ball cricket where the guys grew a bit.

“We gave opportunities to youngsters and they started to gel. The performance against Australia was the light at the end of the tunnel. It was by no means the finished product. There’s still a hell of a lot of work to do.”


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