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Mind the Gap

The gap between domestic and international cricket is not the way it should be, and maybe domestic coaches could liaise with the national South African management teams in order to speak about ways to address it. Introducing the South Africa A squad to more international clashes could be one answer, said Multiply Titans coach Mark Boucher.


The 41-year old said when he watched domestic cricket, he saw some splendid play at times, but when the players moved up to the Proteas, something was missing. He cannot quite put his finger on it, but he would like to see that gap narrowed. If the domestic coaches can discuss ways with the national staff to plug the gap, that might be beneficial.


Named Coach of the Year, Boucher oversaw a seamless transition of the Multiply Titans after the departure of Rob Walters.


The Hennops River team won the CSA T20 Challenge by beating the Warriors by six runs in the final.


The margin of victory against the same opponents was more comprehensive in the final of the Momentum One Day Cup, as Aiden Markram's 161 created a tidal wave of memorable batting feats. The Titans won by 236 runs.


Looking back, Boucher said he said at the outset he wanted to improve each players' skills set by 15 %. 


From an individual perspective, Heino Kuhn, Lungi Ngidi, Junior Dala, Heinrich Klaasen and Heinrich Klaasen moved to the next level.


"It is difficult to say that it was just me,” said Boucher. “Heino, for example, had been playing consistently good cricket for a number of seasons.”


Boucher hailed the performances in the Momentum One Day Cup campaign as spectacular.


He also said in a jam-packed season you cannot expect players to perform at 100 % in each match. Sometimes it might be 70 to 80%. But in the moment critique, the players' skill-set and ability to absorb pressure, pulled them through last season.


When the trophy was at stake, they rose to the occasion in both limited-overs competitions, he said.


He saw it vividly during the final of the CSA T20 Challenge, when Malusi Siboto bowled a fantastic over to seal the Warriors' fate in a closely contested final. 


"David Wiese, the stand-in captain, went to him after he had dropped a catch and told him that he could pull it through for the Titans. And he and the other bowlers did it," Boucher added.


At the start of his tenure, he suggested a few changes to some players' techniques and they benefited from implementing it. Others did not do it immediately, and might take a bit longer to adapt and use his suggestions.


Boucher said in terms of the four-day competition, he wants the conversion rate with the bat to improve. 


Last season, the middle-order did not perform up to scratch. If one is in a strong position of 150 without loss, you should be able to score 400, and not 300. And that 100 runs was the difference between the Titans and a title.


Each player in the top five should be able to average 35, 40 or more, he added.


Maybe a solution is to give each specialist batsman a challenge not be to complacent after scoring one century, but to push for four tons.


Markram (average 51.36) and Kuhn (average of 43.91) gave the Titans sound starts last season.


He is eager to see the players capitalize on half-centuries to propel the Titans regularly to 400 or 450, and for domestic cricket to become an even better nursery for the Proteas.