Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
19 Nov 2020
3:30 pm

Boucher promises new-look, aggressive Proteas to take on England

Wesley Botton

And, veteran AB de Villiers remains on the radar, with the coach saying he's open to having discussions with the star batsman.

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher is confident of hid team's chances against Sri Lanka. Picture: Getty Images

More than eight months after they last turned out as a team, the Proteas are preparing to launch a new aggressive style as they gear up to face world champions England.

The English squad arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday for a bio-bubble tour starting next Wednesday, which includes three ODI matches and three T20 games.

During the lockdown, however, Boucher said his squad had learned a great deal at a training camp where they had addressed issues which arose in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.

They also used the enforced break from the game to try a new approach.

“I’m very happy with where the guys are at the moment,” Boucher said on Thursday.

“It’s like we’re starting afresh. We have a new performance model and now it’s time to put it to the test.”

They would need some time to find their feet, Boucher admitted, but he was eager to take the fight to the tourists, who won the World Cup in the ODI format on home soil last year.

“We want to be aggressive because we want to keep moving in the same direction that the game is going,” he said.

“But we don’t want to be mavericks. We also want to play smart, and we want to identify players who will suit this style.

“We need to be patient because it takes time, but we also need to win to ensure we build confidence, so we want to learn while we’re winning.”

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While some players had returned to action in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, and the 4-Day Domestic Series had recently resumed, Bouched said they would take it one step at a time.

“We can’t panic or rush in,” he said.

“We’ve done what we can from a planning perspective, and we’re not too worried about the English at this stage, but more about driving forward with our new philosophy and playing the game the way we want to play.”

Meanwhile, Boucher said he would consider roping in former Proteas captain AB de Villiers down the line, if he felt the need to approach the veteran batsman.

De Villiers displayed superb form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore during the IPL, racking up 455 runs at an average of 45.40 and a strike rate of 158.74.

Though he retired from the international game in 2018, De Villiers had been involved in multiple talks over potential returns over the last couple of years, but none of those comebacks had materialised.

“I still believe he is one of the best players in the world, and he showed that again in the IPL,” said Boucher, who played alongside De Villiers before his own retirement in 2012.

“So I’m open to it and I’m sure we’ll have discussions with him.”

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