Mark Boucher wants Jacques Kallis back in the Proteas coaching set-up
JOHANNESBURG - Mark Boucher would like to have Jacques Kallis back on board as a consultant for the Proteas, saying the players took a lot of value out of having him around last summer.
There had been confusion over Kallis’ role due to what had been a policy by Cricket South Africa, not to hire white consultants if a black person of equal ability was available. That decision was put on ice by the current interim board of CSA, chaired by former constitutional court justice Zak Yacoob.
Part of the interim board’s mandate is to assess all decisions taken by the previous board and as such it chose to suspend the decision about consultants while also taking legal advice about the matter.
Cricket SA did appoint Neil McKenzie as its “batting lead” - a position that encompasses all areas of the development pipeline - and Dillon du Preez as the assistant coach for the women’s national side.
Kallis, who worked as a batting consultant with the South African team last season, has in the meanwhile taken up a consultancy position with the England team which is currently touring Sri Lanka and said this week he’d wanted to continue working with the Proteas but that the transformation policy, as it stood at the time, forbade it. He also said he’d not heard about that interim board suspending that policy. “I suppose it’s the way of our country – a lot of players have fallen away because of needing people of colour involved,” said Kallis. “It’s tough but we understand where it comes from. It’s the modern way of the world. It’s sad in a way that I can’t help out in South Africa, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my time in the England setup.”
Boucher said he’d yet to talk to Kallis, a close friend, since he took up his position with England, but he didn’t shy away from the fact that he would have him back in the Proteas structure in a heartbeat.
“If we can get him involved somewhere soon, maybe against Australia, I think we must,” Boucher said on Thursday. South Africa is due to face Australia in three Tests starting in late February.
The Proteas head coach outlined how Kallis had worked with players on an individual basis during the extended off season last year via on-line platforms.
“I know he had a session in Cape Town with Temba Bavuma and he speaks highly of him. There’s a lot of knowledge that Jacques can pass on to a lot of our batters. He’s played over 150 Tests. The batting knowledge that he’s got, along with others in this country, needs to be utilised.
“He is on my radar to try and get him back involved in the Proteas set up. I just hope that we treat him with care. I think we’ve seen that he’s got a lot of other opportunities in world cricket at the moment. We’d be stupid not hang onto him, as long as we don’t mess him around. I know Jacques would love to be working in South African cricket and after the conversations we’ve had, we’ll hopefully see him back here.”
McKenzie won’t be part of the Proteas management team in Pakistan. The group departs on Friday, but a large chunk of the players will return immediately after the second Test in Karachi, which is scheduled to finish on February 8, so that they can go into quarantine here with an eye on the Australian series.
Cricket SA and Cricket Australia are still locked in negotiations about that series and the medical demands to enable it to occur, which has left Boucher in a quandary about who and how the team will be prepared for the three T20 Internationals that follow the Tests in Pakistan.
“I don’t know exactly what is going on,” said Boucher. “The talk is that Enoch (Nkwe) might stay on in Pakistan and finish off the series, I’ll come back...we are trying to split the management as well as we can to show the importance of both series’. Logistically it is a nightmare, with a whole new squad coming in and that two squads may then mix and ‘bio bubbles’ crossing over.
“The emphasis is on Test cricket against Australia, which is as it should be, so it won’t be our strongest T20 team.”