Mark Boucher hopes fresh faces can revive wilting Proteas
CAPE TOWN - Proteas coach Mark Boucher believes his team can turn around their fortunes ahead of the One-Day International series against England starting on Friday at Newlands.
It certainly will require plenty of work over the coming days – both on and off the field – to get the Proteas into a position where they can compete with the world champions.
England were simply the dominant outfit in the preceding T20 series. After toying with South Africa in the first two matches that ended in close finishes but still managing to get over the line, the tourists flexed their muscles fully in the final match of the series on Tuesday to romp home by nine wickets with 14 balls still remaining in the innings. It was the first time South Africa had suffered a 3-0 T20I series whitewash on home soil.
Although England bid farewell to superstars such as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Dawid Malan, Sam Curran and Chris Jordan for the three ODI’s, they remain a serious force in any form of white-ball cricket with Moeen Ali among others expected to fill the vacancies.
South Africa, meanwhile, will be without premier fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for the ODI series after the 25-year-old was forced to withdraw due to an abductor strain injury.
The home side will at least, though, be able to welcome the return of Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller from quarantine, while there are also couple of youngsters such as Janneman Malan and Kyle Verreynne eager to build on their good form shown during the last series against Australia prior to lockdown.
“We have a different squad. There are some fresh faces coming into the squad, some youngsters, and we will feed off that. We understand that it’s not a short journey, it’s a long one.
We will keep learning and we’re being tested against a very good team. But that’s how we want it. I don’t see it as a problem to turn everything around in a short time,” Boucher said at Newlands on Tuesday evening.
Phehlukwayo’s return will certainly be monitored closely. The all-rounder will no doubt not be fully match-fit after spending the past fortnight in isolation, but was seen running around Boland Park last Sunday.
His overall value to the Proteas was certainly highlighted during the T20 series with Boucher lamenting the lack of balance with the starting XI due to the absence of the all-rounders.
Furthermore, South Africa have also played three matches together now since the eight-month break due to Covid-19 and should be much better prepared.
“There was a bit of rustiness (in the T20I series). We had to cancel three of our warm-up games. We never had our all-rounder for various reasons. We lacked our sixth bowler. You can’t hide that fact. We never had that type of cover,” he said.
“But we don’t want to make excuses. We have a determined group of guys here that want to improve and want to learn. They want to compete with the world’s best.”