Shukri Conrad’s man-management skills needed to help heal Proteas T20 World Cup scars

Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad will check on his players’ mental state ahead of the tour of the West Indies. Picture: Supplied.

Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad will check on his players’ mental state ahead of the tour of the West Indies. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 9, 2024


Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad is known for his man-management skills and his abilities to get the best out of his players when the chips are down.

The former teacher is an experienced campaigner and knows when his players need an arm around the shoulder or some tough love.

Conrad may need all of that wisdom and experience to galvanise his charges ahead of the Proteas’ two-Test series against the West Indies following the disappointment of recent T20 World Cup final, which South Africa lost by seven runs against India.

The Proteas players would have invested a lot of emotional capital into the latter stages of the tournament when they became the first men’s team from South Africa to qualify for an ICC World Cup final.

They won all of their tight matches, except the one that mattered, and that is going hurt for a while. They are human.

The history of sports shows that sometimes there comes a drop off in performances after big disappointments - it’s natural. It may be a different colour ball they will be playing with in the West Indies, but it’s still cricket.

Conrad said this week, when he announced his squad for the tour, that he has given the players space digest the defeat and will assess the players’ mental state when they arrive for camp.

Some of the players who featured in the World Cup will attend a red-ball camp from July 15-19 in Durban, while will others will link up with the team in Trinidad and Tobago on July 27. Players competing in the Major League Cricket final on July 28 will join the team on July 29.

"I haven't reached out to the guys yet as I need to give them time to process and recover," Conrad said.

"I'll be catching up with the guys who are here at the camp next week, but I certainly didn't want to be doing any conversations as yet. We'll see how the guys will pull up and I'll give the guys the space to deal with the disappointment of the final.

"I must also mention how brilliantly they played to get to the final, but we've got a different colour ball now. But, if we need to tap into the psychological part of it, then we'll do so, but I think everybody will be okay,” he said.

Proteas Test squad against West Indies

Temba Bavuma, David Bedingham, Matthew Breetzke, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Tristan Stubbs, Ryan Rickelton, and Kyle Verreynne.