Sunday Times

Team is on track, says Boucher


● With pressure mounting and calls for him to step down from certain quarters because of the Proteas’ recent poor performanc­es, coach Mark Boucher has stuck to his guns by insisting that the team is on the right track.

The Proteas have lost eight out of 11 series since Boucher took over in 2019 and have handed out six new Test and ODI caps and eight in the T20 format as part of their transition process.

During this rebuilding phase, there were the retirement­s of Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Vernon Philander and JP Duminy, but Boucher and his think tank do not look like they are anywhere near being a solid team with the T20 World Cup taking place in October.

“I think we are on the right path,” he proclaimed defiantly after the disappoint­ing ODI and T20 series loss to Pakistan.

“We have lost a couple of series and there are reasons for that. I am not going to make excuses because we still have to try to win with whatever side that we put on the park to represent the Proteas.

“It has been a lot tougher but I think there have been a lot of positives with opportuni

‘ We have put a lot of work and effort into this and it’s not time to panic yet’

ties being given and a couple of guys coming through with flying colours.”

Boucher admitted that there is pressure but he is not going to shy away from his responsibi­lities.

“If I worried about public opinion and that type of stuff, I probably would have hanged myself a long time ago.

“I think we have stuck to our guns in what we believe is the right way to go about in the set-up and pressure is going to be there, no matter what. At this level of internatio­nal sport if you can’t handle it then you need to get out of the kitchen.

“We understand that the public want to win but we are sticking to our guns, we are looking forward to getting our full-strength team again so that we can start building a strong squad that can go to the World Cup.

“I take a massive amount of responsibi­lity. I don’t shy away from it and I have never shied away from something like that. I am extremely hurt at the moment as is the rest of my management and coaching staff. We have put a lot of work and effort into this and it’s not time to panic yet.”

SA did not have captain Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen for some of the matches during the series against Pakistan.

“It was a big thing to lose Temba and Rassie on top of the players who went to the IPL.

“Unfortunat­ely, injuries and the IPL do happen in sport and we can’t control that.

“I think the guys who came in, and there were a few, held their heads high.

“Though we lost as a team, I thought there were some fantastic individual performanc­es that we can be proud of,” Boucher added.

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