Mandla Mashimbyi’s first assignment as interim Titans head coach is not an easy one with the Centurion-based team heading down the N1 to face the Lions.
Mashimbyi has replaced Mark Boucher‚ who has moved on to the Proteas as team director.
The 4-Day Franchise series resumes on Thursday with a full set of matches, with the Lions hosting the Titans, while the Cape Cobras meet the Knights in Paarl. Kingsmead in Durban hosts the Dolphins-Warriors match.
Mashimbyi is not about to make major changes.
“It’s more about the players and making sure they tick all the boxes. I’m really looking forward to working with the boys and serving them as head coach‚” Mashimbyi said.
“I’m the type of coach who’s drawn to a person’s potential. So my goal is to get players to reach their full potential and hopefully the guys understand and respond well to that.”
While there are coaching changes left‚ right and centre‚ the bigger view is the happenings at the Wanderers and the shape Aiden Markram will be in.
The opener‚ who struggled in the most recent Test series and injured himself in the tour of India‚ was named in the Proteas Test squad for the first two Tests. Having not played any cricket since October‚ he is in dire need of game time.
Markram has been named in the Titans squad for the Lions game‚ an indication the wrist he fractured in India has healed and can cope with the demands of four-day cricket ahead of what will be a crucial series.
By all accounts‚ the national team players should have been playing in the four-day games. With a new coaching management in place‚ however‚ the need of the players acquainting themselves with the new mentors before getting themselves into playing shape then becomes the prerequisite.
Mashimbyi is one of three franchise coaches who is in an acting capacity.
Robin Peterson is holding the fort in Port Elizabeth with the Warriors after Rivash Gobind left to join Afghanistan. Wandile Gwavu is coaching the Lions in Enoch Nkwe’s now permanent absence. Ashwell Prince will head up the SA A side for this weekend’s game against England‚ meaning that Faiek Davids will stand in for him in Paarl.