Johannesburg: The South African national men’s team’s performance in the T20 World Cup will be reviewed by Cricket South Africa after they were eliminated at the group stage, suffering a shocking loss to the Netherlands, with the focus on moving on and not dwelling on the past.
“It is important that we review what has happened. We are in the process of putting a panel together to ensure the review is very clinical. But the focus is hitting the reset button and not dwelling on the past. It’s important that we close a chapter and look at what lies ahead,” Enoch Nkwe, South Africa’s director of cricket (DOC), said after the team’s arrival from Australia as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Nkwe, who took over as DOC in July after assisting Mark Boucher as his assistant coach, has already named Malibongwe Maketa as South Africa’s interim coach ahead of a three-Test series in Australia and will shortly start the succession planning for Boucher’s permanent replacement.
With a year remaining on his contract, Boucher joins Mumbai Indians
With one year remaining on his contract, Boucher quit his position to join the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Since white-ball captain Temba Bavuma has yet to decide on his future, all signs point to no sudden changes to South Africa’s organisational structure.
After South Africa’s loss on Sunday, Bavuma declared he wouldn’t be influenced by the feelings of the moment. He remarked three days later after the team’s failure to qualify for the semi-finals.
“The emotions are not as raw, but in terms of the disappointment and the disbelief, that’s still there, It’s going to take me a couple of days,” Bavuma said.
Even though the first round of domestic first-class matches begins on Thursday (each side only plays seven games and there are only three rounds prior to the Tests in Australia), the entire squad will be given some time off before a decision is made regarding when the players will return to action.
CSA will primarily be in the Test team
They will primarily be in the Test team, which is currently second in the World Test Championship (WTC) points standings. Their performance in the Test series in Australia will be essential in determining if they will have a chance at the WTC final in June, at which point South Africa, who is currently ranked 11th on that table, may also wind up competing in the 50-over World Cup Qualifier.
Nkwe has first-hand experience with the ups and downs of South Africa’s last three years–since former CEO Thabang Moroe decided to restructure the coaching system and establish a team director who was then quickly replaced by a coach, Boucher.
He served as Boucher’s team director for almost two years before resigning, claiming issues with the team’s culture. He was the interim team director during a catastrophic tour to India in 2019. Following Boucher’s departure, he replaced Graeme Smith as the DOC upon his return in an overseeing capacity.
If entirety of the off-field incidents had impacted the squad
When asked if he believed the entirety of the off-field incidents had impacted the squad, Nkwe responded that he wouldn’t use it as an excuse.
“One thing I have been proud of this team over the last couple of years is that they’ve been able to go on the park and compete and try and win games. They’ve been able to close off all the noise and whatever is happening off the field. Somehow we found a way to get to a point where we remain competitive. I believe the team has come through that very well,” he said.
He acknowledged that the World Cup exit was disappointing and that someone had to bear responsibility possibly the CSA.
We will always take full accountability
“We will always take full accountability. When the results are poor, there will be fingers pointed at the organisation in terms of what has happened in the past and whether there was enough support. Whether the team loses or wins, we are always going to be supporting the team and asking ourselves questions about what more we can do,” Nkwe said.
He did not want to discuss whether he agreed with the choice to keep out-of-form players like Kagiso Rabada and exclude in-form players like Reeza Hendricks.
“I don’t get involved in selection but there will be a clear strategy going forward. How do we prepare better for World Cups coming?” he added with an ICC event every year for the next eight years.
Nobody truly knows the solutions
Since they’ve never won a World Cup, it’s safe to presume that nobody truly knows the solutions, but Nkwe has made it obvious that he’s going to try to find them.
“There is a culture we are driving internally to make sure we put cricket in a good healthy space. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes and what we are all working towards is getting our national teams to reach No.1 and win World Cups. We are now at the point where we can make a difference and that will be our focus. There are so many opportunities as an organisation to change it all. Hopefully next year we can be in a different position celebrating our team winning a World Cup,” he concluded.