Cricket South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith will have a long agenda during the rest of December and into the new year. Here are a few items that should be at the top of the list.
Seek Rassie Erasmus’ counsel
- Smith’s appointment in principle has come about five weeks after the Springboks won the World Cup in Japan under the guidance of head coach Erasmus, who was also director of rugby at the time. Smith and Erasmus’ roles will have marked differences, but plenty of similarities as well. A conversation with Erasmus about the political and sporting trials of a director’s job would likely serve the start of Smith’s tenure well.
Appoint team director
- The team director position was created after head coach Ottis Gibson and team manager Mohammed Moosajee’s ended earlier this year. The Lions’ Enoch Nkwe occupied the post in an interim capacity for the tour of India. The Proteas first Test against England is fewer than 20 days away. A permanent team director or another interim stint for Nkwe still haven’t been announced. Smith needs to act quickly.
Hire support staff
- Former England captain Kevin Pietersen was something of a soothsayer shortly before the announcement of Faul and Smith’s appointments on Saturday. Pietersen, via Twitter, suggested both be hired. He also mentioned roles for former Proteas Jacques Kallis, Robin Peterson, Makhaya Ntini and Mark Boucher. There probably isn’t room for all four, but perhaps Smith can convince at least two or three to join.
Have a heart to heart with Faf du Plessis
- Batsman Faf du Plessis won’t likely captain the Proteas at the T20 World Cup next year. His role as Test captain, too, remains in the balance. While Du Plessis doesn’t state as much, occasional hints are dropped about a Test exit. If the 35-year-old is heading out, a genuine successor – Temba Bavuma? – must be groomed properly. If Du Plessis is going to stay for a couple more years, a public statement of assurance would be helpful.
- Triumphing over the old enemy at home would do wonders for morale, political confidence and public sentiment. Victories in the series opener at SuperSport Park in Centurion and the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town would quickly offset the troubles caused by Moroe and others. Smith can have a big hand in this, even if not playing, by equipping the squad with all the right resources to overcome Joe Root and company.
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