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Rob Walter wants players to remember that the Proteas fold is their home

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Rob Walter and the Proteas are currently in camp in Durban for a couple of days before a number of his players head off to ply their trade in various T20 Leagues around the world.

Rob Walter and the Proteas are currently in camp in Durban for a couple of days before a number of his players head off to ply their trade in various T20 Leagues around the world. Picture: Lee Warren, Gallo Images

THE ROLE of national team cricket coach is morphing ever closer to a football manager, but Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter is doing his very best to create an environment where his players “feel like they are coming home”.

Walter and the Proteas are currently in camp in Durban for a couple of days before a number of his players head off to ply their trade in various T20 Leagues around the world.

Eleven Proteas and youngster Dewald Brevis will be participating in the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) from next week in Texas and North Carolina, while top-order batters Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks will also be heading to North America where they will be turning out for the Vancouver Knights in Canada’s Global T20 League.

A large component of this group will then head to the Caribbean Premier League prior to rejoining the Proteas squad for the two white-ball series against Australia starting on August 30. The Australian series will be the Proteas’ final match preparation before they head to the ICC World Cup in India in October.

Such is the global calendar of the modern-day professional cricketer Walter is doing his best to not only adapt to the demands, but to also find a way to maximise the talents of his team when they do report for national duty.

“We have identified that any player can potentially have five different coaches during a season, and potentially it’s how each individual fits into the way we want to play, and then for me to have a conversation regarding strengths and areas to work on,” Walter told Independent Media.

“We have had one-on-one conversations with each and every player about what is required from us to play their best games.

“My primary goal is to create an environment where players are comfortable in playing their best cricket. That can be a juggling act, considering the workload and the amount of cricket the guys now play.

“Essentially, we’re still wanting the players to feel like they are coming home when they do play for South Africa after heading off to the various leagues around the world.

“To play for your country remains a massive privilege, and we want to ensure that when the players look forward to coming back.”

Due to the minimal opportunities to spend with the national team, Walter recently joined Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad on the South Africa ‘A’ team tour of Sri Lanka to have a closer look at the next generation.

It was hugely beneficial for Walter with youngsters such as Brevis, Tristan Stubbs, who was the leading run-scorer in both the limited-overs and first-class series, and Gerald Coetzee upstaging some of the more senior tourists.

“It was really good to be in Sri Lanka and not just look at a scorecard. I was able to understand the conditions, and how they were trying to piece their innings together,” Walter said.

“It was great to see the way ‘Brevie’ (Dewald Brevis) played in that first game. He came in when the side was under pressure, and was able to work through it, in an unfamiliar role. At the top of the order the game is basically mapped out for you, but in the middle order it’s a bit more complex and to see him work it out was excellent. It was good to him getting a not out when the game was done.

“Tristan batted really well in the second game, but just did not kick on, and then learnt from that and got the job done in the final game with (Senuran) Muthusamy.

“Gerald Coetzee also showed his batting ability and then took a five-for. Any coach is looking for players to put their hand up under pressure, and it was great to see these young players show off their capabilities.”

@ZaahierAdams

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