Titans coach Mark Boucher says ensuring everyone gets game time at the Titans is the toughest aspect of his job.
The Titans have a rich supply of talented players at their disposal. It’s always been their greatest strength, but it’s also turned into one huge headache for coach Boucher.
A number of high-profile players are going to sit out of the Titans’ One Day Cup opener against the Dolphins, with Shaun von Berg, Aiden Markram and either one of Heino Kuhn or Heinrich Klaasen set to miss out.
The transformation targets, as important as they are for the growth and future of the game in the country, has forced Boucher to make a number of delicate decisions, with at least three black African players required and a maximum of five white players allowed.
‘Getting the balance right, is the toughest aspect of my job,’ Boucher tells SACricketmag.com. ‘We’ve got world-class players and it’s tough leaving them out.
‘There are players who have to play. Dean Elgar and Morne Morkel are Proteas so you can’t leave them out. Albie is the captain, a one-day specialist and a match-winner. Heinrich Klaasen has been in excellent form and he’s the future. David Wiese is a proven performer with international experience,’ he concludes.
Von Berg is one player in particular who has found himself on the sidelines more often than not throughout the campaign. A tidy T20 Challenge stint, followed by an excellent Sunfoil Series which saw him collect 32 wickets from five matches, including a century and a 10-wicket haul in the final round against the Warriors, was not enough for selection for the squad to face the Dolphins.
Uncapped Gregory Mahlokwana, who’s played one game for Northerns, has been chosen as the spinner.
‘I’ve given Shaun a couple of weeks off,’ says Boucher. ‘I’ve had an honest conversation with him and he understands his role and his value to the side. Based on his performances he actually deserves the right to tour with the Proteas as their second spinner. That’s how good he’s been.
‘But I understand the dynamics and we just have to work with what we’ve been dealt. My players trust me. I got some criticism for rotating my team too much, but we ended up winning the T20 Challenge.
‘There are a lot of positives to come out of it,’ Boucher says on the transformation targets. ‘Hopefully CSA will keep monitoring the situation and have the guts to do something if if it’s clear that it isn’t working.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images