Don't Want To Be A Nice Group Of Players And Eighth In The World - Mark Boucher > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Don't want to be a nice group of players and eighth in the world - Mark Boucher

A return of cricket seems in sight for South Africa with the lockdown in the country dropping down to Level One this week

A return of cricket seems in sight for South Africa with the lockdown in the country dropping down to Level One this week

Mark Boucher, the head coach of the South Africa's men's team, has emphasised on the need to improve the team's performance and play the hard way instead of just being 'nice boys'. Multiple defeats just before the pandemic break has resulted in South Africa finding themselves currently ranked sixth in Tests and fifth in both limited-overs formats.

"It's all about performance and that's key for me," Boucher said, listing his priority on Monday (September 21). "We don't want to be a nice group of guys and be eighth in the world. I'd rather be a challenging group of guys and be competing for the number one spot and they all want that as well which is great to hear.

"We're all aligned in the right direction, and although it's all still words, we still need to go out there and try and live it, rather than have it be words coming out of our mouths. I'm happy that the players are happy, but now the hard work starts.

"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 practicing, 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."

It has only added to South Africa's headache that several senior players have retired in a cluster in the recent past, in different formats - Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir - leaving too many boots to fill.

A return of cricket seems in sight for South Africa with the lockdown in the country dropping down to Level One this week. Boucher is hopeful that cricket will resume soon and the players will get to shake off the rust from the long break. "My biggest hope for the national team when we do get back to playing again is that we really drive the vision that they've (the players) put out for themselves. I do believe that we've got the talent to do that and if we play in that sort of way, I have no doubt that there's going to be success.

"We're going to make some mistakes - we're a young team - but as long as we keep learning from those mistakes, we will become a better unit. The players are keen to try something different in order to get different results, especially when we go to big tournaments."

Even though there hasn't been a lot of cricket, barring the 3TC tournament, South African players got an opportunity to be involved in a cultural camp in August. "It was important for this team to create a new identity. It (just) happened a little bit later than expected," he said.

"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."

However, the former wicketkeeper is confident that the next generation of cricketers are bound to mature and learn faster. "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."

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