Slump in form: South Africa go for new Test, limited overs coaches

Amid worsening fortunes especially in Tests, South Africa named Shukri Conrad as their new head coach for the red-ball cricket with Rob Walter to take over the limited overs formats.

The move comes after Mark Boucher, who had been in charge across all formats, resigned following the recent Twenty20 World Cup in Australia to take up a role in the Indian Premier League with the Mumbai Indians.

Conrad, 55, a former first-class cricketer, has worked with many of South Africa’s leading players as head coach of the South African Academy since 2014. He also coached the South African Under-19 team. He has experience at senior domestic level with the Cape Cobras and Lions franchises and had a brief spell as head coach of the Uganda national team.

He takes over a Test side that has slumped to heavy defeats in recent away series against England and Australia — and which has a severely curtailed programme over the next four years.

With a vulnerable batting line up, South Africa, who were ranked second for the ICC Test Championship before the three-Test series against Australia, has slumped to the fourth spot due to a humiliating 2-0 defeat against the Kangaroos.

It could have been even worst had rain not intervened in the Sydney Test, the last of the series, which ended in a draw.  

The Proteas play a two-match series against the West Indies in February and do not play another Test until India tour South Africa at the end of the year.

But Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said the appointment of a specialist Test coach was an indication of the importance of Tests despite CSA having reduced the number of fixtures in order to accommodate a new T20 league.

“We haven’t relegated Test cricket to the margins,” said Moseki. “We want to invest to get Test cricket back to the standard we expect.”

CSA Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe said a “massive goal” for Walter was to work towards the 2027 World Cup which South Africa will co-host with Zimbabwe and Namibia.

His first task, though, will be to ensure South Africa qualify for this year’s World Cup and to “do our utmost best” at the tournament in India.

Walter was the South African team’s strength and conditioning coach between 2009 and 2013 before becoming head coach of Titans franchise.

He guided them to three titles in three seasons before moving to New Zealand in 2016, where he coached Otago and more recently Central Districts.

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