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Mark Boucher praises Proteas after India whitewash as his legal battle looms

The Proteas celebrate after winning their ODI series 3-0 over India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Proteas celebrate after winning their ODI series 3-0 over India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 24, 2022


Cape Town - At this stage of the soap opera that's Mark Boucher's national coaching career he is focused purely on his primary job, which is to transform the Proteas into a high-performing international cricket team again.

He doesn't have control of everything else going on around him, which is usually plenty, with the latest being charges of "gross miscoduct" related to alleged racist behavior being levelled at him by his employers Cricket South Africa.

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Due to the sensitivity surrounding the allegations and the pending legal proceedings, where he will reportedly have the support of a high-ranking defence team bankrolled by some of the most prominent business people in the country, he was unwilling to delve into the matter after the Proteas completed a 3-0 cleansweep over India in the ODI series at Newlands on Sunday.

"I think you'll appreciate that I can't answer that... at least now," he said in reference to the off-field dramas.

Understandably he was more inclined to discuss the progression of a group of players that have just completed arguably one of the biggest turnarounds in the history of South African sport.

The 3-0 ODI cleansweep followed, of course, the momentous 2-1 Test series success achieved over India last week at the same venue. Considering this was a team that only a few months ago lost an ODI to Ireland for the first time in its history and hand been humbled at home by Pakistan across white-ball formats last summer, this certainly was an Indian summer to treasure.

"We've been through the hard times and only once you've been through the hard times do you appreciate the good times," Boucher said.

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“The progression has been great. I think we turned the corner a while ago from a team perspective but obviously we needed the results to back it up.

“We tried a few things in Covid times. We had to get a deeper squad. We gave a lot of opportunities to a lot of players and I think we are starting to reap the rewards now. We will appreciate this. This is just part of the journey of this team. We have a captain in Temba (Bavuma) who is demanding on results, which is good."

Often to achieve significant success individuals and teams have to step out of their comfort zone and be willing to embrace new challenges.

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In terms of the Proteas, they needed to recalibrate their approach to spin - both in terms of utilizing their spinners and how their batters played it.

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It had been a major Achilles heel of Proteas teams in the past and arguably the most telling transformation of the current group in regards to the way spin has been embraced.

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In conditions that would be expected to favour the visitors at both Boland Park and Newlands - the two venues used for the ODI series - it was the hosts that came up trumps in both delivering the turning ball and playing it.

"We didn't expect the wickets to play the way it did, but the heat wave coming through the Western Cape added to that. We have done a lot of hard work in terms of playing in subcontinent conditions. We saw when we went to Sri Lanka we played the spin really well there.

"We also have good couple of spin options, even Aiden (Markram) as the batting all-rounder can do a job with the ball. It didn't surprise me to see the guys play the way they did because its just a lot of hard work paying off in addition to a little confidence picked up along the way.

"It's a big plus in our camp especially in terms of the conditions expected at the World Cup."