Johannesburg — Shukri Conrad and Rob Walter were appointed the new Proteas Test and limited-overs coaches on Monday, but it was Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe that mapped out the future of the men's national teams.
Conrad and Walter officially begin their four-year contracts on February 1 with the Proteas set to have a stand-in coach for the England ODI series in Bloemfontein next week.
Conrad's first Test series in charge will though be against the West Indies at home during mid-February.
It was therefore left to Nkwe to provide clarity on both Test captain Dean Elgar and limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma's roles moving forward, especially after the disappointing performances of both teams recently.
"I need to understand the coaches' ideas around the leadership. We need to give them an opportunity to sit down with the two captains and discuss how they see it going forward. It's going to be important that the decisions we make now, we commit to 100% for the next two years," Nkwe said.
Elgar is the oldest member of the current Proteas Test side at 35, while Bavuma is 32, which are significant factors to consider, according to Nkwe.
"If the captains feel strongly that they can contribute for the next two years and help with the transition and rebuilding phase, we commit to that. We are going to be having some very interesting conversations over the next couple of months to ensure we are all together and we build that stability. We don't want a situation of chopping and changing," he said.
Nkwe stated he would consult both Conrad and Walter before any steadfast decisions are made.
"The reality is that these two captains are not going to be captains for the next five years. We need to identify who are going to be the next two captains and how much time we give to blood them," Nkwe said.
"Those are some of the hard conversations we are going to be having over the next month so that everything is clear. We are not saying we are firing anyone but over the next month or three months, we need to build stability so by that time the season finishes it's very clear."
The major priority for Walter, especially, is to ensure the Proteas qualify for the ICC World Cup in India later this year. It may be a tricky process especially with the Proteas seemingly having to navigate a qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe due to their perilous position on the ICC World Super League table.
Nkwe stressed though that the Proteas have their sights on the home World Cup in 2027 instead.
"We are not going to strictly judge them on the 2023 World Cup. We understand what has transpired before that and we complicated our journey to the 2023 World Cup," Nkwe said. "We want to ensure we can compete there but they are not going to be judged on that.
“One plan is going to be what is required right now over the next eight months, and the second one is the medium to long-term plan for our white-ball team."