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Mark Boucher confident about rebuilding Proteas

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South Africa’s ODI series victory over Australia was the “light at the end of the tunnel” for head coach Mark Boucher, who remains optimistic about rebuilding a strong Proteas side despite a tough summer.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman took over in mid-December ahead of the England tour which saw South Africa lose a Test and T20 series while drawing a rain-affected ODI series.

The Proteas then suffered a home T20 series defeat to Australia before a young Quinton de-Kock-led side registered a 3-0 win over Aaron Finch’s men in the ODIs.

“If I look back over the summer and reflect on the team’s performances and progress, especially against England and Australia, I think it was quite disappointing to be honest,” Boucher told ‘Cricket South Africa’.

“Especially against England, we didn’t perform like we wanted to perform. In saying that I think we, as a new coaching staff, asked some questions and I think we got some answers. Some were good and some were bad.”

The 43-year-old is delighted with the team’s performance in the shorter formats of the game but reckons the Test side needs rebuilding.

“The nice thing for me about the whole summer was the light at the end of tunnel, especially in our short formats. I think we have a lot of work to do with our Test cricket still, there’s probably a lot of rebuilding in that respect.”

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With injuries plaguing the side, South Africa saw newcomers like Janneman Malan, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Anrich Nortje and Kyle Verreyne rise up to the occasion.

“We had a couple of injuries as well which didn’t help the cause, but I think the exciting thing for me was more the white-ball cricket and to see the guys grow a bit.”

“We gave a bit of opportunity to a couple of youngsters and they really started to gel together as a team and not just rely on one particular guy to carry them through.”

Boucher said it was part of the new coaching unit’s plan to give opportunities to youngsters, increasing the team’s bench strength.

“I was pleasantly surprised, which left us in a situation towards the back end of the season that was a nice situation to be in when a lot of guys were in good form. There was a lot of confidence.

“Our selecting was effectively coming from a pool of 20 odd players, which was a lot better than going into a side where you just go, ‘okay, well, these are eleven players that we’re definitely going to play.’

“Now we have quite a few options and that is good for South African cricket,” he concluded.