Have the Proteas improved under new management?

A new-look Proteas team shared the ODI series against the world champions, England.

With the conclusion of the England tour it is time to assess if the Proteas have improved under the new management of Graeme Smith as Director of Cricket and Mark Boucher as head coach.

They took over at a time when the Proteas were in serious decline after losing five Test matches in a row to Sri Lanka at home (2) and against India (3) away. Also, the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England was a disaster. They certainly took over a Proteas team in crisis.

England comfortably won the Test series 3-1 after losing the opening match at SuperSport Park that sparked hope for a quick recovery by the Proteas in Test cricket. This was dashed as England became acclimatised to the quicker South African wickets after their tour of New Zealand where they lost the Test series. There was also talk that some England players were sick during the first Test. There is no doubt that as the series progressed, the gap between the two teams grew wider.

The One Day International series was low key because both teams are preparing for the World T20 in Australia in October this year. The series was shared one all with neither side playing their strongest team, but rather looking to develop players for the 2023 World Cup.

The T20 series was a great advert for T20 cricket. The Proteas were very competitive against a very strong England white-ball team. Even though they lost the series 2-1, they can feel satisfied with their performances.

The Australian tour will give a further indication of where South African cricket finds itself, but expectations must be realistic. It will be about small victories initially like winning the first match and sharing the ODI series to restore the Proteas as a world-class brand again.

It is not only about a generation change and building a strong Proteas team but to restore the integrity and profile of the whole South African game. The Proteas are only a component of the bigger picture, but they are the face of South African cricket.

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