The relationship between new Cricket South Africa director of cricket Enoch Nkwe and Proteas head coach Mark Boucher has been an obvious point of discussion since the former national team assistant coach’s ascension to the lead administrative role, but Nkwe himself assured on Friday that they were eager to get “the best out of each other”.
Nkwe resigned as South Africa’s assistant coach last August, stating concerns over the team culture, and said he had not seen Boucher since then.
During the period when Boucher was under disciplinary investigation by CSA, much was made of Nkwe’s departure from the Proteas and he was expected to testify against his former boss. Nkwe declined to do so and the roles are now reversed with Boucher reporting to him.
The new director of cricket said he had a clear-the-air meeting with Boucher and the Proteas team on Thursday, on the eve of their departure for England.
“It was a bit strange at first because we have not engaged in person since August, but it ended up being a great meeting,” Nkwe said at his introductory press conference at CSA headquarters on Friday.
“I know a whole lot has been spoken about there being deeper-level issues, but it was nothing personal and Mark and I do have a good relationship. The meeting ended with us laughing and I know he is excited to work with me too.
“We now feel that we are in the best positions to get the best out of each other. I’m glad we were able to meet in person before they left for England and we all walked away with smiles after 40 minutes,” he added.
“There’s a lot more clarity between us now, and being director of cricket does not mean I am director of the Proteas. I am director of cricket in totality. Mark and the team leadership are in a very good space.”
Apart from finding the squad in good humour, Nkwe said he was also impressed by the vibe, which had improved since he was last with the Proteas.
“I could feel the positive energy and also in the way the team engaged with the (CSA) board,” he said.
“It’s actually been a great week for South African cricket and it’s important that we restore our positive image.
“That’s a part of my 18-month plan and I will be giving as much support as possible to the national coaches, to allow the head coach to focus on his role because his hands are quite full.
“It was quite an emotional moment at the start of the meeting with the team yesterday. This role is very close to my heart, it’s what I have strived for. It’s a massive honour and privilege.
“It’s a position in which I can actually make a difference to South African cricket, which I am very passionate about. There will be a lot of pressure, but pressure is a privilege.”