Proteas coach Mark Boucher says his team is in a good space after getting through some tough times.
On Friday, South Africa beat India by seven wickets at Newlands to clinch a famous come-from-behind 2-1 Test series win.
It is the undisputed highlight of Boucher’s stint as national coach so far.
“I believe that we turned the corner quite a while ago, and our results have been pretty solid over the last six months to a year,” he said.
“We went through a period in Covid times when our directive was just to get cricket back up and running, and we tried out a few players, and I think that’s starting to come good now. We’re starting to get a depth of cricketers that we can turn to.
“You lose out on a guy like Anrich Nortje [to injury], who was a big loss for us, but then you get Marco Jansen coming to the party.
“We’re in a good space at the moment, but our feet are firmly on the ground. We know that we’re not the finished product. We’ll enjoy this win, and it’s certainly something we can take a lot of confidence out of.”
Boucher said he was proud of his players’ attitude when times were tough and called on South African fans to get behind them.
“This team is on their own mission, really. If people want to jump on the back of that, then that’s great, and it will be much appreciated,” he said.
“We’ve been through some tough times of late, and the players are driven in a way that is pretty special, and it’s a special change room to be in.
“I’m incredibly proud of where they’ve come from over a short period of time, and the results are starting to come now, which is fantastic for everyone.
“It was a tense day, but a day the guys will remember 0n how to win in tough situations, not only in this Test match but the last Test match as well.”
When asked where this Test series win ranked among those he had been part of as both a player and a coach, Boucher said: “Right up there”.
However, he was quick to praise his players for the fight and character they showed at the Wanderers and Newlands.
“It doesn’t surprise me, because you’ve got Dean [Elgar] as well who is that sort of character and he led from the front.
“You’ve got Temba [Bavuma] as the vice-captain, who is the same fighter with that spirit in him, so you’ve got two leaders like that who the guys are going to follow.
“The guys stood up with regard to their own games as well.
“A lot of people, including the media, had written us off after day one of the first Test,” Boucher added.
“To come back after losing the first day badly to then compete in the first Test, and then to win the second and third Tests … this Indian team is probably the best team in world cricket Test-wise at the moment.
“The whole Test series was hard-fought, good cricket. It must be up there with one of the best Test series to be played, certainly in South Africa.”