CSA looks to improve selection structure

PROTEAS limited overs coach Rob Walter is in the centre of Cricket South Africa’s selection structure review. | Archives

PROTEAS limited overs coach Rob Walter is in the centre of Cricket South Africa’s selection structure review. | Archives

Published Apr 6, 2024


OVER the past 12 months, Cricket South Africa (CSA) gave their two Proteas head coaches Rob Walter (one-day international and T20I coach) and Shukri Conrad (Test coach) space and freedom to select their own squads.

Conrad, in particular, made full use of the freedom that he had and made a number of big calls that were unlikely to have been made if a different selection structure was in place.

One of those calls saw the Test coach come into the side and drop senior fast bowler Lungi Ngidi for an uncapped Gerald Coetzee, and the youngster went on to relatively solidify his spot in the side.

Ultimately, Conrad’s calls over the course of the year have led the Test side to a healthy position. The side now has an exciting group of players that is intensely competing for spots in the playing XI.

In conversation with Independent Newspapers, CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe hinted that the structure could be altered as they are currently in the process of reviewing the season, including the selection structure.

“This current season, the structure was interim. We will review that and see how we move forward on a permanent basis,” said Nkwe in an exclusive interview.

“We needed to give it a try, see how it would work. (Now we want to) see where we could plug in the gaps and give it the support structure it actually requires.

“At the end of the day, we want to put the coaches as the main people to select their teams. I’ve always believed that coaches are best placed to select players and give reasons as to why that player is selected, why that player is getting dropped, and what that player needs to do to return to the team.

“For me, the coach is closest and works with the players on a daily basis. Just like in football and other sports, the coach is the main guy. But we just need to relook the support structure to the coaches. They are still the main people to answer on selection, but (it’s about) how do we give them even better support moving forward,” he added.

Nkwe added that CSA hope to announce the new structure next month, which then means that the structure might be employed for the first time when Walter selects his squads for next month’s tour of the West Indies and the T20 World Cup in June.

Independent Newspapers understand that one of the selection structures on the table includes a convener of selectors, the coach and an independent selector. This is a structure that CSA has employed in the past, but Nkwe emphasised that the coaches would still have space and freedom to make calls.

“Every year when we do our season reviews we look at where we can improve, and selection has been a big topic over the last 18 months,” Nkwe continued.

“We want to be in a position, by May, to be able to implement a full-time structure,” he concluded.