Walter up for the task ahead

2013-07-01 13:07
Rob Walter (Getty)

Pretoria - The primary task of a franchise coach is to produce cricketers for the national squad, according to Titans head coach Rob Walter.

"I hope to narrow the gap for what awaits cricketers when they get picked to play for the Proteas," Walter said in Centurion on Monday, on his first official day in office.

"From my experience gained working with the national team over the last few years, there is a false perception about how easy it is to make the transition."

Walter worked as the conditioning and fitness trainer with the national squad until his tenure ended at last month's ICC Champions Trophy held in England and Wales.

When playing at domestic level, Walter said the batsmen received the odd loose ball, allowing them more time to settle at the crease.

"Look at our recent game against England -- there were no freebies. The batsmen were forced to make a play under pressure," he said, referring to the Champions Trophy semi-final when the hosts thrashed South Africa by seven wickets, with 12 overs to spare.

"There were no bad balls to release the batsmen and to get an innings going. And if the top batsmen were under pressure, imagine what it was like for the younger guys stepping in to bat in that situation."

He believed the domestic four-day competition was still seen as an important part of the game, despite the Titans' poor performance, finishing bottom of the log last season.

"It is the pinnacle of our cricket. To play Test cricket for South Africa is what every young cricketer aspires to do, so certainly my focus will be on getting us back up and running to where we were in the past.

"It's a double-edged sword as the shorter format has definitely increased the pace of four-day and Test cricket, but certainly the approach of younger cricketers to the longer format needs some work."

He said there was a definite skills set required to perform at first-class level and he planned to create an awareness of how four-day cricket needed to be approached.

"It's not a question of skill but rather having a game plan in place and changing the mindset."

One of Walter's first tasks is to prepare the Titans for the T20 Champions League competition which will be held in India in September.

"The Titans qualified as one of two teams to represent South Africa, by finishing runners-up to the Lions in this year's domestic T20 competition," he said.

"We will use July to get into skills development and then in August we will play inter-squad games."

They also have two 50-over matches lined up against the Lions and the Cobras as well as two 20-over games scheduled against the Cape franchise.

"According to ICC regulations, we have to announce our broad squad of 20 in August, but we haven't decided on a final 15 yet."

He said there were opportunities for "maverick" players like Herschelle Gibbs and Alfonso Thomas but the Titans were unable to offer the same financial incentives as other international franchise teams.

Read more on:    titans  |  rob walter  |  cricket

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