New Proteas coach Mark Boucher and his assistant Enock Nkwe attend a press conference at Newlands on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – "Beware the wounded buffalo, especially in Africa."

That was new Proteas coach Mark Boucher's loud warning to England. The tourists have just arrived in South Africa ahead of the Test series starting on Boxing Day and have been making plenty of noise recently due to the chaos Cricket SA have found themselves in recently.

But with CSA pulling their house in order with the appointment of Jacques Faul as interim chief executive, Graeme Smith acting director of cricket and now Boucher's appointment as Proteas head coach and Enoch Nkwe as assistant coach on Saturday until 2023, the former Test wicket-keeper is feeling bullish about his team's chances in the four-match series.

"It is not my first roadshow against England. They have been saying a few things in the media and rightly so. But I have one thing to say to them 'Beware the wounded buffalo, especially in Africa!"

"Our confidence is a bit down. As Graeme said, we need to get our confidence back. But if we give them (the players) the space to perform, get the right messages to them. I do think we have lots of talent in this country, it just needs to be nutured a bit. I do think we can get the best out of our players."

The Proteas have been a low-point for most of 2019. They have lost five successive Test matches, including a recent 3-0 whitewash in India, and endured a horrible World Cup campaign.

Boucher, though, believes with the right energy flowing in the Proteas dressing room again, the team can return to its previous heights.

"I have involved with teams where we had some really tough times. I look back at one of the toughest times, which was the Hansie Cronje saga and we bounced back to beat Australia straight away.

"I believe we have a chance of turning it around. Sport is an amazing game, particularly cricket. I have seen it turnaround in a couple of days. That's what confidence does. I understand though there is a lot of work to be done."

The former 147-cap Test gloveman also indicated that the door is not shut on anyone representing the Proteas, even the retired AB de Villiers, particularly with a T20 World Cup set to be held next year in Australia.

De Villiers was at the centre of a media storm earlier this year during the 50-overs World Cup in England when it emerged that his last-minute decision to come out of retirement was turned down.

"When you go to a World Cup you want your best players, and if I feel he is one of the best players then I will have conversations with him," Boucher said.

"I might have conversations with a few players. If there are a few issues that need to be ironed out with the media, teammates or whatever, and is best for South African cricket, then it must be done."

He continued: "I am not here to re-invent the wheel. The players we select will have their own style and they will need to work that out for themselves. We are here to add value and create a good environment. And if we can do that, we are working towards heading in the right direction."

@ZaahierAdams

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