Motivated Maharaj has ingredients for leadership, says former coach Morgan

2020-05-13 14:50
Keshav Maharaj
Keshav Maharaj (Gallo Images)

Proteas spinner Keshav Maharajkeen to captain his side in Test cricket, has the right ingredients for leadership. 

That is the view of Grant Morgan, who spent three seasons as head coach of the Dolphins from 2016 to 2019 until joining the Scotland national side as an assistant coach. 

Maharaj was Morgan's vice-captain at the franchise for much of that time frame, with first Morne van Wyk and then Khaya Zondo skippering. 

There were several instances, though, where Maharaj had to captain and Morgan remembers the 30-year-old being a strong leadership figure in the squad.

"When Keshav did lead the team, when Khaya was away with the SA 'A' side, he did it well," Morgan told Sport24.

"He is very motivated, he leads from the front and he bowls his heart out. In red ball cricket, he did really well tactically and strategically.

"He has an intelligent mind and he also had that characteristic of being able to earn and command respect from people."

While there are other options for the Test captaincy like Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen, Morgan believes that anyone who wants to lead should be encouraged to do so.

"In a team you should always have more that want to do it than don't," he said.

"Captaincy is sometimes pushed onto people who don't want to do it and that's the biggest mistake anyone can make, to just assume that people want to do it.

"I'm just glad he is in a mindset where he wants to back his leadership, because why shouldn't he? He has just taken the Dolphins to a trophy that they've deserved and he's obviously made a massive impact there."

The Dolphins, under Maharaj, landed the One Day Cup trophy this season, even if that competition was cut short by the coronavirus crisis. 

One issue that surrounds a potential Maharaj captaincy is the fact that South Africa do not always play a spinner at home, and Morgan said that would have to be something considered by the leadership.

"He would need to be a fixture in the team," Morgan said.

"Those are aspects that I'm sure the leadership will look at because, through no fault of Keshav's, South African spinners don't play every Test match, depending on which venues we go to."

The other area where Morgan believes Maharaj would need to improve is in his batting, where over his 30 Test matches, he has earned a reputation of sometimes throwing his wicket away carelessly. 

"He did let himself down sometimes with the bat and getting out a little bit softly, Morgan remembers from the Dolphins.

"That would be an area where he would need to brush up on and show a bit of fortitude, but I'm sure he knows that and he can, he has showed it at the Dolphins this year.

"He has shown for South Africa, too, that he is capable and he must just be able to stand out there and take the brunt of it.

"With all of those things taken into account, he wants to be successful. He is a highly motivated person and he is very fit, so there will always be a leader there."

With a two-Test tour to the West Indies in July almost certain to be called off, the Proteas could only find themselves playing Test cricket again in December. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  grant morgan  |  keshav maharaj  |  cricket


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