Mark Boucher impressed by youngsters Lutho Sipamla and Wiaan Mulder
JOHANNESBURG – The emergence of Wiaan Mulder and Lutho Sipamla may one day take on even greater importance for the Proteas than beating Sri Lanka in the two Test series that finished on Tuesday.
Both are 22 years old, and made decisive contributions with the ball in the series. Sipamla finished the series with 10 wickets at an average of 16.70, a wonderful turnaround considering he was wicketless in his first 12 overs in Centurion.
“There were so many butterflies and nerves on his first day of Test cricket, so it’s difficult to judge Lutho on that,” said Boucher. “Lutho is very young, he would never have felt the intensity of those butterflies like that before, especially because Test cricket means such a lot to him. That is a good sign for me, that a guy is so passionate about playing for his country, especially in the Test format.”
In both matches Sipamla also cleaned up the Sri Lankan tail, something that impressed the coach. “It’s one thing to say clean up the tail, but the areas he hit asked a lot of questions. He bowled with decent pace as well. He is one who’s learned a helluva lot in these two Tests, which stands us in good stead for the future.”
Mulder meanwhile, has the potential to be an answer to a lot of South Africa’s troubles. His success with the ball would have been a surprise to many - even within the South African squad - given his status as a ‘batting all-rounder.’
He finished the series with nine wickets, with his nine-over spell on the fourth morning at Centurion and his three over burst before lunch on the opening morning of the second Test, showing a player with great endurance and skill.
“Wiaan was fantastic. Wiaan was always there to make the breakthroughs,” said Boucher.
“He’s so keen to learn, his attitude is great. I see a big future for Wiaan. Hopefully, the way he performed now he continues on that upward curve.
“We haven’t seen his batting. I think he’s a very good batter and could bat in the top six. He’s young, he will learn and we will keep challenging him in that regard.”
Having that all-rounder broadens the option at the selectors disposal, and allows a horses for courses approach when picking a starting eleven. With the Proteas set to tour Pakistan later this month, they could choose a second spinner to start, knowing that thanks to Mulder they will also have three seam bowling options.
“It’s great to have all-rounder options. It’s an area where South African cricket has always been really strong,” Boucher remarked. “We spoke against England – albeit that was white ball cricket – about the gaps we had because we didn’t have an all-rounder, so to have a guy like Wiaan is fantastic. He is very young but the talent is there. He’s been away from the game for some time, so he’s very hungry to go out there and perform.”
The South African players will have a week off – and out of the bio bubble – before regathering for the tour to Pakistan. They leave on January 15. The first Test against Pakistan is in Karachi, starting on January 26.