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Comment: Be patient and trust the Shukri Conrad-Dewald Brevis process

Dewald Brevis of MI Cape Town hits over the top for six during the 2023 SA20 match between Durban’s Super Giants and MI Cape Town, held at Kingsmead in Durban

Coach Shukri Conrad and prodigy Dewald Brevis have travelled a long journey together, and have developed a relationship based on absolute trust. Picture: Gianluigi Guercia/Sportzpics/SA20/BackpagePix

Published Jun 5, 2023


Cape Town – King Richard.

Scrolling through the channels I initially thought it was simply another movie trying to propagate colonial dominance.

But to my pleasant surprise, it was actually the title of the biographical sports drama profiling Richard Williams – father and coach of tennis superstars Venus and Serena – and his lifelong dedication to moulding his daughters into multiple Grand Slam winners.

Not everyone agreed with Richard’s methods. He had the neighbours calling the police and social services to come to the Williams' household to investigate if he was driving those girls too hard.

And he was met with even fiercer criticism when he withdrew Venus and Serena from junior competitions to focus on being “normal children”.

I believe that Shukri Conrad and Dewald Brevis share a similar relationship. The coach and prodigy have travelled a long journey together, and have developed a relationship based on absolute trust.

But like the criticism Williams encountered, Conrad’s methods are also now being scrutinised. That much was evident yesterday, when social media “experts” were in a twist.

Their beloved, formerly known as “Baby AB”, but who now goes as just “DB”, played a sparkling knock on his debut for the South Africa “A” side in Sri Lanka.

An undefeated 98 not out from just 71 balls, which included six boundaries and seven sixes, guiding South Africa “A” to a comfortable four-wicket victory with 8.5 overs to spare.

Considering Brevis arrived at the crease with the tourists precariously placed at 104/5 in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 268/6, it was also a sign of his growing maturity.

But that is also what earned “Cricket Twitter” their ire.

Why was “the Golden Child” of South African cricket only sent in at No 7?

Brevis has batted in the top-order throughout his career, and where he earned his reputation for the SA ‘A’ Under-19s, Titans and MI Cape Town.

The logic behind Conrad’s decision could simply not be understood. If Brevis could score 98 not out at No 7, then surely he could make an even bigger impact at the top of the order?

I believe that is entirely short-sighted.

The very same who clamour for Brevis’s career acceleration and ultimate inclusion in the Proteas’ World Cup squad for India later this year comfortably overlook the current status of the national team’s ODI top order.

Captain Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock occupy the opening spots. They are followed by Rassie van der Dussen at No 3. The trio boast ODI averages of 52.27 (Bavuma), 44.9 (De Kock) and 60.6 (Van der Dussen) respectively.

And they are followed by equally impressive statesmen Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller. Not even the Hulk could break down this door.

But it is next in where the Proteas are still shuffling their cards around. The search for a high-quality batter that is also able to contribute with the ball continues.

The Indian subcontinent conditions dictate that it should be one that offers up slow poison rather than a seamer, which is why Brevis sending down six overs of leg-spin that yielded 1/40 on Sunday is of equal importance to his runs.

Personally, I am still undecided on whether a 20-year-old should be tasked with the responsibility of navigating a high-pressure chase at a World Cup, but Conrad and Brevis have shown already they clearly understand the bigger picture better than any of us.


IOL Sport

* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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