South Africa – Focus on 2027 ODI World Cup and top Test spot as Shukri Konrad and Rob Walter take charge

Shukri Conrad and Rob Walter will take over as South Africa’s red and white ball coaches respectively from February 1, with interim arrangements in place for the World Cup Super League ODIs against England later this month.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo, Conrad and Walter were preferred on a shortlist that included interim coach Malibongwe Makita, former West Indies director of cricket Richard Pybus, former national assistant coach Adrian Burrell, who only applied for the Test role. Thee, and Lance Klausner, who resigned. His interest in Whiteball’s work last week. Konrad and Walter are currently on four-year contracts with the aim of reaching the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) and winning the ODI World Cup at home in 2027.

“This is a huge target, a huge milestone for us as a country. It must be won. All investment, all energy, all focus will be focused on 2027,” Enoch Nkwe, CSA. Director of Cricket (DOC) said. “We have opportunities along the way to build a better system to give us the best chance. We have opportunities in the T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and Test Championship but our focus is the 2027 World Cup.”

South Africa faces the challenge of qualifying for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

Before that, South Africa have a lot to do with securing their place in the 2023 ODI World Cup. They are out of the top eight and have just five matches remaining, having wasted games to have the top players for the inaugural SA20 league in Australia. Of those five, South Africa need to win at least three to avoid traveling to Zimbabwe for the qualifiers in June.

The CSA leadership is understood to believe that qualifying for the 2023 World Cup is non-negotiable but, as long as South Africa participates in the tournament, they will not place additional pressure or performance standards on the new coaching staff at the tournament.

“We are not going to judge them harshly for the 2023 World Cup. We understand what happened before and we complicated our journey to the 2023 World Cup,” Nkwe said. “We want to make sure we can compete there but they won’t be judged on it.”

Instead, Nkwe outlined “two plans” for the national white-ball sides, which would run parallel to each other. “One plan is going to be what’s needed right now in the next eight months, and the other is the medium to long-term plan for our whiteball team. Along the way, we’re going to lose some big names. Some big names maybe. “Can’t make it to 2027. I don’t want to be in a position as DOC where we’re stuck 18 months before the World Cup and we haven’t built enough depth for 2027.”

“We’re going to have some very interesting conversations over the next couple of months to make sure we’re all together and we build that stability. We don’t want a chop-and-replace situation.”

Enoch Nkwe on the future of senior players, such as Dean Elgar and Temba Baoma

CSA is not sidelining Test cricket.

The focus on the shorter formats comes as the CSA fills stadiums for the SA20, the country’s first major cricket event since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, and against the backdrop of a reduced Test schedule. South Africa have just three more Tests scheduled this year and are out of contention for the WTC finals, but CSA CEO Folletsi Moseki insisted they remain committed to the longest format.

“We will always emphasize the importance of Test cricket,” Moseki said. “We are adding a number of Test games over the next four years. We are serious about being a Test-playing nation and we take this format very seriously. A very serious Test-playing nation. We will have our Test team. want to invest to bring it back to the standards we expect.”

Nkwe has set aside the next 12 to 24 months to rebuild South Africa’s Test player base, which Conrad will be integrally involved in, with the aim of contesting the WTC finals in 2025 and 2027. “We want to be in the top three. But we’re pushing for No. 1, even if it takes another three or four years to get there.” Nkwe said. “Over the next two years, we are consolidating our position and building a larger player pool.”

Part of that process will be discussing player priorities at the next round of personal development plan meetings next month. For the first time, the CSA is only open to signing players in selected formats, if it emerges as a priority. “We are working with the South African Cricketers Association,” Nkwe said. “We don’t want to be caught with our pants down. We are very open if a player wants to commit to just two formats. [but] Then how can we make a deal with them?”

Who is next after Dean Elgar and Temba Bauma?

Two key players who will come up for discussion early on are the captains – Dean Elgar and Temba Baoma – neither of whom were involved in discussions to hire a new coach and both are under scrutiny. Their places are not yet secured, with Nkwe indicating that CSA wants leaders for at least the next two years.

“I need to understand the coaches’ thoughts around leadership. We need to give them an opportunity to sit down with both captains and talk about how they see it going forward. It will be important that we do now. decisions, we commit to it. 100% for the next two years,” Nkwe said. “If the captain feels strongly that he can contribute for the next two years and help with the transition and the rebuilding phase, then we commit to that. In the next two months we have something very exciting. “We’re going to have conversations to make sure that we all come together and we build that stability. We don’t want a cut-and-replace situation.”

Konrad and Walter will also be involved in succession planning for Elgar and Bouma, 35 and 32 respectively. “The reality is that these two captains will not be captains for the next five years. We need to identify who are going to be the next two captains and how much time we will give them,” said Nkwe. “These are some difficult conversations that we’re going to have in the next month so that everything is clear. We’re not saying we’re going to fire anybody but in the next month or three months, we’ve got to have stability until then. Need to produce. The season is over, that’s clear.”

The coaches will also appoint their own support staff, which is unlikely to include any of the current crop but will see a full-time “performance coach”, as Nkwe calls it, in the backroom.

Nkwe confirmed that current bowling coach Charl Langwald will step down to take up his role in the IPL, while it is unclear whether current batting coach Justin Simmons or fielding coach Justin Ontong will be retained.

South African cricket will also be without Neil McKenzie, who last week stepped down as high-performance batting leader (a role that involved overseeing batsmen from age-group level to the national team). . Makita, who was in an interim coaching role during South Africa’s Test tour of Australia, was expected to return to the South Africa A team and discuss his future with Nkwe later this week. .

Firdous Munda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent.

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