South Africa’s top players are in for a new experience from February 1 with different national coaches for the red-ball and white-ball formats, and Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe does not expect it to be a hard sale for the Proteas to enjoy working under Shukri Conrad (Test) and Rob Walter (ODI/T20).
“I don’t foresee any issues with the players, Shukri and Rob are familiar faces, the players know them well,” Nkwe said at CSA headquarters on Monday.
Conrad has been involved prominently in the Proteas pipeline as a coach for the SA U19s, the national academy and SA A, while Walter was the head coach of the Titans from 2013 to 2016.
“They will bring new energy, which is what the players wanted. It’s going to be quite refreshing and something to look forward to. As long as there is a very clear structure, then the players will adapt very well, they are very flexible.”
And, according to Nkwe, it’s not just the players who will need to be adaptable; Conrad and Walter themselves will need to be malleable when it comes to player management as well as the process of rebuilding the national team with young talent, which is inevitable given the Proteas’ current age profile.
“It’s a fine balance and we must not lose sight of the bigger picture,” Nkwe said. “It’s almost like there are two plans – one for what is required over the next eight months and another for the medium to long-term.
“The Proteas will lose some big names in coming years, some of the guys won’t get to the 2027 World Cup we host, which all our focus and energies need to be geared towards.
“We don’t want to get stuck 18 months before that and discover we have not built enough depth. But the two coaches are very open to introducing new players and we need to have a bigger base.
Read more: Two head coaches – Not best business sense, but good for Proteas, says CEO
“We can’t have Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje running in all the time in all three formats, we need to manage our players a lot better. The focus will be on broadening our pool,” Nkwe said.
Read more: CSA autopsy of Proteas performances is long overdue