CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe says the Covid-19 pandemic is partly to blame for the Proteas’ Test woes.
South Africa suffered an innings-and-182-run defeat to Australia at the MCG on Thursday after being bowled out for 204 in their second innings. It was the first time in eight innings they had reached 200, and thanks only to a last-wicket stand of 27.
The Proteas suffered a six-wicket defeat in the first Test in Brisbane, where they scored 152 and 99.
Heading into the Boxing Day Test, Proteas batting coach Justin Sammons said he was confident South Africa’s struggling batsmen would get it right, but Nkwe believes it will take time.
“There are no quick fixes and what exacerbated the problems was Covid-19 because, before that, we had several A-team tours to help bridge the gap between first-class and Test cricket,” Nkwe told Sport24.
“We played against the up-and-coming players from the other countries, who are now leading Test players in their respective countries.
“Covid-19 delayed the development of some players and, if we look at getting quick fixes, we may miss some key developmental stages of the cricketers.
“That’ll circle us back to this current position in two years, whereas we’re looking for growth as a team, especially as a batting unit.
“I don’t believe in quick fixes as we’ve had players who have come through the A-team system, and they’ve prospered for the national team.”
Nkwe also acknowledged that the Proteas had struggled to replace several South African greats, who had retired in recent years.
“The one thing I’ve always thought about since 2020 is that we’ve lost some key players at the wrong time.
“What we must remember is that when it comes to Test cricket, it’s not an easy format, especially on the batting front.
“People don’t just slot in and fill the shoes of a great player of the past. You’ll have seen the many examples of great players who took time to bed in.
“We do have a plan, but they’ll also require patience because some changes do take time. There is talent in SA cricket, but you also have the question of how long you allow it to mature.
“If you look at the same bowling unit that’s in operation now, it used to travel for runs in 2019, but look at how this bowling unit has grown together now.”