Torchbearers of CSA’s Vision 2019
● Titans coach Mark Boucher knows exactly what the deep end feels like.
After all, South Africa’s longest-serving stumper made his test debut against Pakistan in Sheikupura in 1997 after David Richardson missed the only test of his career since readmission through injury.
Azhar Mahmood detonated his middle peg with a searing in-swinging yorker, putting Boucher in place to understand Heinrich Klaasen’s and Khaya Zondo’s baptisms of fire against India’s spinners.
“We ask questions now of the future because of what’s happening. We must be quick to understand we’ve got a lot of youngsters in the national team setup and they’re being tested by a very good team. It’s going to take time for them to find out their game plans at international level. I guess our players have to be exposed to international cricket more. There needs to be more South Africa A games to ensure these players are ready,” Boucher said.
“Everyone in domestic cricket knows that Klaasen is a dangerous player. He’s got the aim and the technique to play. As soon as he takes the step up again, his technique is going to be questioned. That’s going to happen to every youngster who moves up a level.”
Zondo (27) and Klaasen (26) are also franchise captains at the Dolphins and Titans respectively. This bodes well from a collective leadership perspective when the current senior batch finally moves on.
The webs spun by Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have entangled experienced campaigners like David Miller and JP Duminy. In his two matches, Zondo displayed patience sans the ability to kick on. This quality though is not something that worries Dolphins coach Grant Morgan much. Considering how Zondo played himself in despite the middle-order calamities around him, Morgan said Zondo will be a better player for the experience.
“The guys that Khaya is facing are pretty much bossing it around the world and it’s clear India have risen to the top of the world rankings. It’s been a massive step up, especially when you also consider the aura of the fielders that they are dealing with at the moment. There’s MS Dhoni behind the stumps and the excellent Virat Kohli calling the shots. There’s also the full houses these guys are playing to and that stuff can either make you or break you from a pressure perspective, Morgan said.
“The time Khaya’s spending with the team along with the fact he’s playing is great for his life experience. Coming in during pressure situations, one hopes what will follow is a case of things being a bit easier for him when playing a lesser side. In both ODIs Khaya showed he could absorb pressure but he knows there are aspects of his games that will get better because of this period.”
Everyone in domestic cricket knows that Klaasen is a dangerous player
Young guns Heinrich Klaasen, left, and Khaya Zondo are two of the youngsters being blooded by the Proteas.