Wed, 27 May 2020

Boucher sees light at end of tunnel for Proteas

News24
08 Apr 2020, 23:40 GMT+10

Proteas coach Mark Boucher, looking back on his first summer at the helm of the national side, says there is a "light at the end of tunnel".

The summer started with the Test series against England over the festive season, which South Africa lost 3-1. The ODI series between the sides was drawn 1-1 while England also emerged victorious from the T20 series, winning 2-1.

Australia were next to arrive on South African shores and, in those limited overs series, the hosts showed marked improvement in results, losing the T20 series 2-1 but then bouncing back to win the ODI series 3-0.

The start of the new era under Boucher has had mixed results, but there was certainly improvement towards the back-end of the summer as the Proteas found some momentum against the Aussies.

"If I look back on the team's performance and the progress, I think it's quite disappointing, to be honest," Boucher acknowledged on Wednesday.

"Especially against England, we didn't perform like we wanted to perform.

"In saying that, I think as a new coaching staff we asked some questions and I think we got some answers ... some good, some bad.

"The nice thing for me at the end of the summer was the light at the end of the tunnel, especially in our shorter formats. I think we've got a lot of work to do in our Test cricket still ... probably a lot of rebuilding with regards to our team.

"The exciting thing for me was more the white ball cricket to see the guys grow a bit. We gave opportunities to quite a few youngsters and they really started to gel together as a team and not just rely on one guy. The performance against Australia was the light at the end of the tunnel."

The Proteas had their three-ODI tour of India last month scrapped without a ball being bowled - the first match was washed out - as the coronavirus pandemic exploded out of control. Now, their mid-year tours to Sri Lanka and then the West Indies are also in doubt.

"I certainly know that it's not a finished product. We've got a hell of a lot of work to do, but that's what we've got to look towards going forward now," Boucher added.

"I am pleased with quite a few of the youngsters. We wanted to give opportunities to guys where we thought we could rest a couple of the senior players and almost throw them into the deep end.

"I was pleasantly surprised and it left us in a situation towards the back-end of the season where it was a nice situation to be in.

"We were effectively selecting from a pool of 20-odd players ... which I think is good for South African cricket."

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