England in SA

Faf: Trust in new CSA structure has helped Proteas

2019-12-29 16:39
Faf du Plessis (Gallo)
Faf du Plessis (Gallo)

Centurion - The Proteas, after a dismal 2019, are back to winning ways having knocked over England in the first Test at Centurion and skipper Faf du Plessis acknowledged a sense of relief on Sunday. 

The 35-year-old was at the helm for this year's disastrous World Cup campaign, where the Proteas finished 7th and never came close to contending for a semi-final place, while he was also in charge of an embarrassing 2-0 home series Test defeat to Sri Lanka back in February and then a 3-0 Test hammering in India in September. 

In addition to the poor results on the field, Du Plessis and his players have looked on helplessly this year and witnessed one of the darkest periods of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) administrative history.

Things came to tipping point earlier this month when CEO Thabang Moroe was suspended by the organisation and at that stage, with less than three weeks to go until the start of the England series, the national side had no permanent coaching staff and no convenor of selectors. 

After Moroe was suspended, the CSA board appointed Jacques Faul as the acting CEO while former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith was unveiled as the new director of cricket. 

Mark Boucher was then given a contract as head coach until the 2023 World Cup while Enoch Nkwe, who had previously been the interim team director, was given the assistant coach role. 

Linda Zondi was reinstated as acting convenor of selectors.

In addition, Jacques Kallis was brought in as a batting consultant and Charl Langeveldt was named the bowling coach. Somehow, the Proteas had scrambled together a management team rich in experience and pedigree and they were able to prepare for the Boxing Day Test. 

While there is still a lot of uncertainty over exactly what the future leadership of the organisation will look like, Du Plessis said after the 107-run win that there was now a feeling of stability in South African cricket again and that it had contributed greatly to victory at SuperSport Park. 

"There is a lot more confidence in the structures coming from the top," he said, sitting alongside Boucher at the post-match press conference. 

"There were obviously plans in place before, but I feel that now there are better plans in place.

"We've got the right people in the right jobs and we've got the right people at the top of CSA, which is really important.

"Leadership always comes from the top and it filters down. I feel like by starting that, it set the tone for how we are playing right now.

"You have to put those things in place for the things underneath to work in your favour. That's a start for us as a team and now we can trust the system a little bit more and focus on playing cricket."

Du Plessis acknowledged that this had been a difficult year, with the Proteas having lost five Tests in a row for only the second time since readmission. 

"It's been a tough season for the Test team, and it's been a while since our last victory," he said.

"This week there was a really good feeling in the camp that we had done some good stuff before the Test match.

"We knew we needed to put in some performances to get the thing running."

The Proteas will now have a short break before heading to Cape Town for the second Test at Newlands, which gets underway on January 3.

Read more on:    proteas  |  faf du plessis  |  centurion  |  cricket


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