Enjoying South Africa’s victory in the test series over the West Indies, Proteas coach Mark Boucher said he was now eager to see his country perform in more difficult situations to assess their progress.
South Africa defeated the West Indies with 158 tracks in the second spin spin test Keshav Maharajis 5/36, which includes a hat trick to finish the series 2-0 on Monday. This is South Africa’s first victory in a series of tests since March 2017.
“This is not a relief. A lot of hard work has been done behind the scenes,” Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. “We worked on a lot of technical things and upgraded our players. We understood the need to introduce ourselves for the Proteas badge and the boys pulled out and played like a strong team.”
Considered one of the best wicket keepers of all time, Boucher said the team must come under pressure.
“I look forward to the time when we will be under pressure and see how we react as a unit. There we can judge where we really are.”
Once a formidable force, South Africa slipped to seventh in the ICC Test rankings. After a series of defeats against England and Pakistan, opening Dean Elgar took over the captaincy of the Test from Quinton de Cock.
“The new captain asked a few questions about where we were and where we were going and where we wanted to be. There were quite honest chats, as they do about the South African fire at night.
“All the boys really embarked on a process in which he wanted to put his management in control. That’s where we all stepped back and said we were either on the bus or not. Fortunately, everyone decided they were on the bus. No. works only when you are on the field.
“A lot of effort has to be put in behind closed doors in the way we train, in the way we speak, in the language, in the confidence. That’s probably where it started. In this fire,” Boucher said.
Prior to the series, Elgar called for a return to the “South African” way of playing cricket, which was interrupted by constant performances, big centuries and five-wicket draws, and the team complied.
“Dean can say he’s boring, we say it’s disciplined cricket. The language he speaks resonates among the players, so good for him that it brings such language,” Boucher said.
“Here’s what test cricket is – to be able to take pressure at certain stages and then be able to apply. The boys become smarter in choosing those moments.”
South Africa responded well to the unfamiliar conditions, given that none of the players had played a series in the Caribbean.
“When you have a young team, the best place for them to learn to play cricket is in foreign conditions. This is how you develop players in different conditions and thus they learn about their games and slight small adjustments that can turn them into world-class players. It’s important to understand that there is a process, a long process that you have to keep working on, “Boucher said.