Gqberha — Proteas coaches Rob Walter and Shukri Conrad took the opportunity to strengthen the bond between themselves as national coaches and all the domestic coaches during the recently-concluded coaches conference held in Johannesburg this week.
Cricket South Africa wrapped up what is considered one of the most important steps in the process of improving South African cricket across the board – domestically and internationally.
It was the first time the division one and two coaches and national coaches had gathered following the first two-year cycle of the new domestic structure.
It was also Walter and Conrad’s first interaction with the local coaches since their appointments as Proteas’ white ball and Test coaches respectively.
The mandate was to enforce a ‘collaborative’ approach in getting the national teams and domestic teams performing at a higher level.
As feeders to the national teams, the domestic coaches are just as important to the success of the Proteas.
CSA, alongside Walter and Conrad, delivered the message to the coaches to remind them of how vital they are to South African cricket.
“The coaches conference is massively important,” said Conrad afterwards. “The fact that all the coaches involved in our professional game can sit together all day, share ideas, share our vision for South African cricket. Everybody has got a part to play in this, that’s the critical bit for me. Whilst I might be the head coach of the Proteas Test side, I’m still reliant on every other coach that works in the system.
“It’s important that coaches understand that, and myself as a head coach having sat in that same room for close to 20 years as a provincial coach, I fully understand the role that domestic coaches play as well.”
The two national coaches shared their visions for the national team, and went into detail in terms of how they want South Africa to play their cricket.
They said it was critical that domestic coaches understand and follow the same vision and style of play, and holistically make domestic cricket mirror how the Proteas want to play across all three formats.
With this mentality, it should be relatively easy for players making the step up to international cricket to play the brand of cricket the Proteas play.
“The job for people in cricket is to grow, and for us as coaches to come together to discuss ideas from a national point of view,” said Walter.
“To discuss the style of play that we’re looking to implement in the national side and getting collective thinking on it is hugely important. To have coaches in one room, it’s always a great day of cricket conversation and discussion, and a good collaborative effort,” he added.
The transparency of the national coaches will do wonders for SA cricket, and will make the job easier for domestic coaches now that the vision is clear for them as well.
“The biggest take out for me is the two national coaches talking to us as a group, being open and honest and talking about their plans moving forward,” said Eastern Storm head coach, Geoffrey Toyana.
“That was a top take out for every coach. We had great learnings from the experience of a Shukri Conrad and the experience of a Rob Walter. Their insights were quite helpful to us as coaches, and I think we can connect more with them, just to chat to them about our experiences and how they would like us to move forward in terms of bringing up players that we will produce for them,” he concluded.
“The building blocks have been laid and I think everybody leaves here with a clearer understanding of what we are hoping to achieve,” said Conrad.
“Our obvious goal is the World Test Championship in the Test space, and the World Cup in the white ball space in 2027.
“I reckon in the next six to 12 months, we would have invented what that playing DNA and playing philosophy will be like, but today was very important in laying the foundation for that,” Conrad concluded.