Warriors coach Robin Peterson looks back at his maiden first season in charge at franchise level with general satisfaction, saying it was all about maximising the resources he had in the Eastern Cape.
The former Proteas all-rounder was not in charge for the full campaign, stepping in after three rounds of the opening 4-Day Domestic Series competition after Rivash Gobind resigned to take up a coaching position with Afghanistan.
The end results for Peterson were third position in the first-class tournament and third in the One-Day Cup, which qualified them for the semi-finals, something that did not happen due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
That cut the season short, but for the 40-year-old, it was still a solid first term at the helm.
‘Considering the circumstances, I think it was satisfying,’ he said. ‘You know we had a lot of guys that had to go to Cricket South Africa’s fitness camps halfway through our season, which wasn’t ideal.
‘Then we had a lot of injuries to senior players, you know, more experienced players. But I think that gave us an opportunity to see what was in the cupboard and when we gave guys opportunities, young players, it was really satisfying to see these young players winning games of cricket and not being over-reliant on the experience.
‘For me that was a big plus about what happened in the season. Of course, I started the job late and you need a couple of months in the job to sort of win guys over, to gain the trust of one another and I felt that towards the end of the season we were getting there.’
The season ended prematurely on 16 March when CSA cancelled all cricket for 60 days due to the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill. South Africa itself is currently in the midst of a 21-day lockdown.
But Peterson says they did well to get two third-place finishes in 2019-20.
‘Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish it, we ended in the semi-finals of the 50-over comp where we started to play quite nicely and we were still in the running for the four-day comp so, you know, for a young group of guys,’ he explained, ‘I thought they did extremely well.
‘Now we just need to grow on that, just to keep improving and raising the bar all the time.’
In recent seasons, the Warriors have been improving steadily. They continue to punch above their weight, although that cliche is not something that Peterson or his team take too seriously.
‘If you are considered a smaller union, it doesn’t mean that you can’t produce cricketers just because you don’t have the money or the resources,’ he insisted. ‘In many ways you can probably say the Warriors are doing better than some of the bigger franchises. With limited resources, we’re still managing to sort of be in contention at the end of the season for all the competitions.
‘I don’t think the players look at it like that. You know, I think maybe that’s an outside perception that a lot of people used to have. We might not have the financial resources like most of the others, but that doesn’t mean that the players don’t put in 100% effort every time they get on to the park. And it certainly doesn’t mean they’re any less talented than any other players in the country.
‘It’s all about maximising the potential that you have in your union and I think that’s what the Warriors have traditionally done very well without getting over the line. Now it’s all about trying to change mentalities and winning games and trophies when you get those opportunities.’
Summarising his maiden season as a franchise coach, Peterson insists that was of little importance.
‘It’s not really about me,’ he humbly added. ‘I’m just there to support the players, to help them realise their potential and help them to fulfil that potential. It’s not about me or whether I had a good first season.
‘The only satisfaction I have is that there’s certain players that are starting to realise that, “Hey, I am better than what I may thought I am.” If that happens, then I’m satisfied and feel that I’m doing my job as a coach.’
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