Is ‘old-school’ Shukri Conrad the man to break the Proteas’ shackles?

SA U19 coach Shukri Conrad during the CSA cricket match between eta Northerns and SA U19 in March last year at Kimberley Oval, Kimberley. / Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

SA U19 coach Shukri Conrad during the CSA cricket match between eta Northerns and SA U19 in March last year at Kimberley Oval, Kimberley. / Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Oct 12, 2022


Cape Town – The Proteas were bundled out for 99 by a second-rate India team in Delhi on Tuesday. This has left the team in a perilous position to progress automatically to next year’s World Cup, with the prospect of the qualifiers next winter in Zimbabwe now almost a foregone conclusion.

Under normal circumstances, the national team coach’s job would be in serious jeopardy.

Only in this instance, Mark Boucher has already resigned, and will be exiting the hot seat after the T20 World Cup in Australia later this month to further his career at the Mumbai Indians.

So, where does that leave the Proteas men’s team?

Cricket SA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe has indicated that the process to replace Boucher will be undertaken shortly – and hopefully the correct channels are followed after the fiasco that led to Boucher’s appointment three years ago.

Furthermore, Nkwe has stated: “We have to move forward, and we have the idea of splitting the roles to have a bit more focus on red-ball and white-ball cricket.”

It is by no means a novel concept in international cricket, with England currently utilising Brendon McCullum (Test) and Matthew Mott (white-ball) as the respective men’s national team coaches.

South Africa, though, have yet to walk this path, and the timing of it could not be better, with the minimal assignments on the new Future Tours Programme for the Proteas Test side.

But, what about the candidates? The provincial circuit doesn’t have anyone banging down the door in terms of credentials, especially with Robin Peterson having sought a new future with MI Cape Town as the franchise’s new general manager.

Therefore I believe South Africa should go “old school”, particularly for the white-ball teams, and seek out the intellectual capacity of Shukri Conrad.

The 55-year-old is the most experienced coach in the South African system, having been at the helm at every level from SA A down to the SA Under-19 team.

His passion for the game is unbridled, and he remains a step ahead of his peers in moving the game forward.

Just take a look at the positive brand of cricket the SA Under-19s played in winning the CSA T20 Division 2 this past weekend in East London.

And if Peterson’s visionary is admired for the positive way his Warriors team have taken South African domestic cricket by storm, it should well be remembered that the former Proteas all-rounder relocated from Gqeberha to Cape Town to play under Conrad’s tutelage at the old Cape Cobras.

Furthermore, there are few coaches that boast as successful a transformation record as Conrad, who won a Pro20 championship title back in 2009 already with nine players of colour in the line-up.

Conrad is also not afraid to make the bold calls. It was he that omitted Boucher, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince from the Cobras team for a domestic T20 semi-final.

And he also selected a club cricketer to take on the world’s finest in the T20 Champions League in India.

South African cricket needs someone like Conrad to break the shackles. The timing of it all could not be better …


IOL Sport

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