Home Sport Cricket Boucher’s focus on the Proteas despite off-field controversy

Boucher’s focus on the Proteas despite off-field controversy

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South Africa’s head coach Mark Boucher (left) speaks with player Keshav Maharaj during a practice session ahead of one of the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket matches. Picture: Indranil MUKHERJEE, AFP

Despite the drama that unfolded at the T20 World Cup, Proteas coach Mark Boucher says his focus remains on the players in the national team.

JOHANNESBURG – Proteas coach Mark Boucher has had no engagement with Cricket SA’s Board of Directors, and says his focus remains entirely on the players in the national team.

Amidst all the drama that unfolded with the Proteas at the T20 World Cup regarding Quinton de Kock, kneeling and then narrowly missing out on a spot in the semi-finals, the issue around Boucher and his name being raised at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings took a back seat.

“It was tough, for myself as an individual and also on the team. I addressed the issue with them, and I’d like to believe I had the backing of them after the honest chats that we had,” Boucher said on Tuesday.

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Boucher had written a response to the SJN about him being one of the players who sang a racially abusive song directed at then teammate Paul Adams, when the pair were part of the South African team in the late 1990s.

The SJN chairman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza will submit his final report to CSA’s Board later this month.

Boucher’s affidavit to the SJN, one of the few to be made public, included an unequivocal apology.

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“With regards to going forward; I know there’s a lot of media who probably don’t want me in this position, my agenda has always been to try and get the best out of this group of players and get South African cricket back to where I believe it should be and that is near the top again.

“Until anything else happens I will attempt to do that, to the best of my ability. There’s times I will feel I’m backed, there will be times I feel I am not backed, my focus is quite simple, it’s on the players and it will continue to be as long as I am in this position.”

In that regard, Boucher will begin preparations for upcoming series with the Netherlands and more importantly India. The Proteas play the Dutch in three One-Day Internationals, which offer the chance to gain crucial points for the ICC World Super League, which will determine the automatic qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup.

Boucher said he will have to find a balance between resting the players who feature in all three formats, while recognising the importance of picking up points for the Super League. “We have to fit in a bit of rest and recovery for our Test guys, leading into the India series,” said Boucher.

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“A couple of players are involved in all formats and have been away from (the time of the tour to) Sri Lanka, then on to IPL from IPL straight into a World Cup. It’s bubble to bubble to bubble which can be quite telling on them mentally and physically.

“It’s a balance of resting guys and getting them ready for probably our biggest series of the summer, which is India, and giving opportunities to a few guys knowing that results have to go our way against the Netherlands.”

Although some fringe players may get a chance for the SA A side against India A in Bloemfontein, in three four-day games later this month, Boucher said none of the Proteas Test players would be involved.

Instead he has requested for a four day match, to be played from December 4, between the Proteas and an Invitational XI, to assist in preparation for that three match Test series that starts at the Wanderers on December 17.

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