It's time for a new Proteas captain, says Ali Bacher
And former South African captain and cricket boss Ali Bacher says the team’s management need to make urgent changes, starting with the captaincy.
“I am Faf Du Plessis’ biggest supporter and admirer. But it’s time. If you look at the Australia squad, they had just won the 1999 World Cup in England, under the leadership of Steve Waugh. Shortly afterwards, the national selectors said they needed a change in captaincy. Steve wasn’t happy but they appointed Ricky Ponting.
"The change paid off. I don’t want to be disrespectful to Faf, but we have to move forward and show vision.”
Du Plessis’ men were crushed, by an innings and 202 runs, in the final test in Ranchi, on Tuesday, as the Proteas were handed their second successive test series defeat in India (2015 and 2019).
Bacher thinks the man primed to take over from Du Plessis is batsman, Aiden Markram.
“Aiden is a natural leader. He captained the U-19 national team that won the U-19 World Cup, in Dubai. He had a little rough spot in India but he’s 25, make him captain now and give him a few years to show his worth.”
Despite his young age, Bacher believes Markram will handle the expectations and pressures that come with being captain.
“Graeme Smith was SA’s most successful captain since unification and he was made captain at 22. Omar Henry never got credit for that selection. Smith went on to captain SA over a hundred times.
“Hansie Cronje was made captain at 25. They were our best. Good leaders are able to motivate other players. Aiden is one of them.”
Bacher believes that the Proteas also need to make use of experienced former cricketers, to assist interim team director, Enoch Nkwe.
“I listen to Graeme Smith on TV. There’s passion in his communication. He has an unbelievable amount of experience. Surely, somewhere within SA cricket, there is a pivotal role for him.”
Bacher says the use of experienced former players will help the Proteas to return to form.
“Boucher has played 147 tests. He is with the Titans. He is highly regarded. What is he doing at the Titans? He’s got so much to offer.
“Ashwell Prince has played 66 tests, and has an average of over 40. He’s now coaching the Cape Cobras. What is he doing there? Our provincial teams do not involve our national codes. Our most important team is our national team.
“In the history of cricket, Paul Adams ranks number two, in having the most test wickets for a spin bowler. He coached the Cobras for a short period - so get him involved at national level too.
“Neil McKenzie is also highly regarded and has an excellent cricket brain. What on earth is he doing coaching in Bangladesh?” asked Bacher.
As for Nkwe, Bacher has urged Cricket SA to be patient with him.
“He has a lot of potential. When they sent Enoch to India, it was like throwing him into the lion’s den. India just won eleven consecutive series, so they are a force to be reckoned with.
“But don’t throw Enoch away. Get experienced former cricketers to work with him and be part of a team for three or four years. He will grow and learn. We don’t use some of our top cricketers over the past 30 years. We use them for the local clubs. SA cricket is not going to be successful because of the Titans or the championships that the Cobras win. We have to surround the new captain with people who have experience."
Bacher also believes that the Proteas lack confidence.
“I was in England, in June, for the World Cup. I stayed at the same hotel as our national cricket team, just before their clash against Pakistan. I talked to some of them. There’s a lack of confidence."
They also lack experience, says Bacher.
“We lost three greats - AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn. They are three of the greatest in the history of SA cricket. You can’t replace them. It's left a big hole. But we have to build for the future,” Bacher said.
Meanwhile Cricket SA’s chief executive Thabang Monroe has called on fans to show patience with the team and coaching staff.
“It was always going to be a difficult to take on the top team in the world, and in India.
“In the past two years, we have had to bid farewell to greats like De Villiers, Amla, Morne Morkel and Steyn who, between them, played nearly 450 Test matches. You don’t replace that kind of experience overnight and we need to give the new generation time to settle.
“I am confident we will see an improvement in our next Test series, when England are our visitors during the festive season,” Monroe said.