Cape Town - The Proteas have had many ’honest conversations’ over recent months. The last one was when their "Fortress Centurion" was vanquished by India with the visitors defeating the Proteas by 113 runs in the first Test last December.
The stern chats, led by captain Dean Elgar, had the desired effect as the Proteas turned the series on its head by winning the next two matches at the Wanderers and Newlands to defeat the World's No 1 Test side 2-1.
It these experiences that deputy Temba Bavuma will hope the Proteas can lean on after their latest blowout that saw them succumb to the second biggest defeat - an innings and 276 runs - in South African cricket history last week in the first Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.
After a couple of days off to digest the magnitude of the defeat, the leadership unit of Elgar, Bavuma and coach Mark Boucher have once again gathered the troops and opened the floor for the team to bare their souls in the hope that it will spark a similar response.
"The time off was for guys to reflect on their own performances, look at themselves and see how they can be better in the next game. We had that conversation in the team and from today onwards we have to look at ways how to be better," Bavuma said.
"It was all around honesty about our performance and what we produced out there. A two-day Test match is not good enough. That is not the standards we pride ourselves on. We have to improve in all three disciplines: batting, bowling and fielding."
Part of the process Bavuma believes is that being critical of the performance is only one aspect, but that the players have to be reminded they have been in such dire situations before and managed to find a way to climb out of the dark hole.
"I think it starts with those conversations. It starts with us being honest. Understanding that the performance wasn't good enough. But at the same time it is about reminding the guys that over the last couple of months we have overcome a lot," he said.
"The position we are in is not foreign to us. We know how it is to come back when our backs are against the wall. We know that feeling. We have the confidence to know that we have the character to know what it takes to do what we need to do."
The second Test starts on Friday at the Hagley Oval with the Proteas hoping to avoid their first ever Test series defeat to New Zealand.