Torch­bear­ers of CSA’s Vi­sion 2019

Sunday Times - - Sport | Cricket - By KHANYISO TSHWAKU

● 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.

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