Proteas coach Mark Boucher says their recent culture camp in the Kruger National Park was an important venture for the squad to establish a new set of values and ideals to pride themselves on.
Following a turbulent period on the field, during which the Proteas won only one series over the last season, Boucher and his coaching staff are hoping to lead the team to better performances once the new domestic and international schedule for South African cricket is confirmed.
A high-performance squad of 32 players spent a few days at the famous Skukuza rest camp in August to focus on core principles the team is hoping to adopt as guidelines for consistent results on the pitch.
‘It was important for this team to create a new identity. It [just] happened a little bit later than expected,’ Boucher said in a news release.
‘It was good to have a deeper squad as well. I haven’t really been given the opportunity to meet a lot of them personally, so it was really nice to catch up with them – see a couple of new faces and see a couple of old faces, spend a bit of time together and get into the nitty-gritties about where we want to go as a team.’
The former wicketkeeper says the management staff was clear that each and every player should feel comfortable in the national set-up and that difficult conversations were held during the four-day trip.
‘The one thing about the way myself and Enoch want to try and drive this team is to have players take ownership and responsibility for their team. We had really good mediators who came in. It wasn’t about the management; it was really about the players getting a couple of things off their chests and being open and honest. There were some really difficult topics at times, but for me it showed that we as a team might be young, but we are growing quickly.’
But, apart from being honest with each other and creating an ideal playing environment for everyone involved, Boucher admits the whole squad is adamant to get on the field again and deliver more consistent performances.
‘We want to get on the field and start playing. It’s been a long break, I don’t think the players have had this long a break since school days. Although they’ve been practising, you [as a coach] want to put that practice into match experience. A few guys have moved over to the IPL, so they’ll be happy that they’ll get some game time,’ he added.