Mark Boucher. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/Bertram Malgas
Mark Boucher. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/Bertram Malgas

When Proteas coach Mark Boucher started his international career in 1997‚ England were neither here nor there as a cricketing nation.

But 23 years later‚ with Boucher having transitioned to international coaching‚ SA are in England’s 1997 position and the English are the pre-eminent limited-overs team in world cricket.

After winning Tuesday’s third T20 by the big margin of nine wickets with 14 balls to spare‚ the gap between the teams could not be starker.

Boucher admitted as much but said they are trying hard to get their act together.

“England are a step ahead, and not only [of] us but the other teams in world cricket at the moment. We are trying and we want to win. We are doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes to be a good force in world cricket‚” Boucher said

Boucher has never been a man for excuses but he pointed out that it will be difficult to accurately gauge where his charges are because they’ve only played England and Australia — the best in the world.

Boucher said their preparation wasn’t the best due to factors outside their control.

“We’ve lost to England. We beat Australia in the ODIs and we’ve played against England again. It’s two very good teams‚ so it’s difficult to determine where we are at the moment. It’s shown that we’ve got a lot of work to do catching up with them as they’re the best teams in the world‚” Boucher said.

“There’s a bit of rustiness and we didn’t have the most ideal preparation. We did as well as we could with regards to our training. I’m not looking for excuses though. We have to man up and face the fact that we lost 3-0. We’ve got a determined group of guys who want to learn quickly and compete with the world’s best.”

ESPNcricinfo reported on Tuesday that SA may face tougher transformation targets in picking more black players. Boucher’s team featured three black Africans in the series‚ but he declined to provide details of the transformation meeting he recently attended.

“The only thing I can say was that I was in a transformation meeting and we were given an outline of what the rules and regulations were. That’s what we have to abide by. I don’t know if it’s been taken to the minister. I think someone who is above me needs to answer that question. If you look at the three black Africans‚ they’re very good players‚” Boucher said.

“I don’t know where people are going with this‚ but it’s not up to me to answer these things. I have to select a team that I believe can do a job on the day and I do select that team along with Victor Mpitsang and Enoch Nkwe.”

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