Head coach Mark Boucher says his only focus is to get the Proteas back to the top, where they belong. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SEB DALY
Head coach Mark Boucher says his only focus is to get the Proteas back to the top, where they belong. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SEB DALY

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher fired a broadside at the media on Tuesday, saying he knows “there are a lot of media who probably don’t want me in this position”.      

The Proteas made a low-key return to SA without fanfare on Monday from their gallant but unsuccessful T20 World Cup campaign in the United Arab Emirates, with Boucher and captain Temba Bavuma interacting with the media virtually only on Tuesday.

SA won four of their five pool matches but were unsuccessful in the end as they finished third in a group of six teams, failing to reach the semifinals because of an inferior run rate to England and Australia, the two teams who advanced from Group 1.

Boucher was asked how he had coped with the challenges that he and the team faced in the months leading up to the World Cup, including allegations of racism against him and claims that the Proteas team environment was toxic.

“It is a tough question. Whatever I say people will try to write it in a different way I suppose,” said Boucher. “I would be lying to say it has not been tough. It was tough for myself as an individual and also on the team as well.

“We have had conversations and addressed the issues within the team and I would like to believe that I have their backing as well, after the sort of honest chats we had.

“With regards to going forward, I know there are a lot of media who probably don’t want me in this position. But my agenda has always been to try get the best out of this group of players and get SA cricket to where I believe we should be, at the top again.

“Until anything else happens, I will continue to try do that to the best of my ability.

“My focus is on the players and it will continue to be for as long as I am in this position.”

The Proteas lost against old enemy Australia in their opening match before bouncing back with four successive wins, including tight victories over West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and pool winners England. It was the loss to England that was the difference that sunk them, with Australia finishing with a better run rate than the Proteas.

“Obviously the low was not getting further in the competition, which would have been nice for the guys,” Boucher said.

“The highs are just the way the guys are around each other. There is a lot of good team spirit that they have put together and I think that comes through in the way we play in pressurised situations.”

The other contributing factor to their inferior net run rate was that Australia bowled out the pool’s whipping boys, Bangladesh, for 73 and chased it down in 6.2 overs while the Proteas used all of 13.3 overs to hunt down 85 against the same team.

Boucher said the conversation during the innings break, after bowling Bangladesh out for 84, was to try win as quickly as possible.

“First of all you have to try win the game, that is your first goal, and then set yourself up to get the runs within as little time as possible. Unfortunately, it did not happen.

“We lost a wicket I think in the first over and we ended up losing three wickets in the powerplay, so we were not really in a position to bash the runs in six or seven overs. I think the wicket played a part there as well.

“We still won the game with 12 or 13 overs but in hindsight we can look at all the different things and say maybe we should have bashed it in seven or eight overs, which was the idea. But were we in a position to do that? No.

“We did not know what the outcomes of the other games would be, we were focused on winning games of cricket. We won them well but unfortunately it was not good enough,” Boucher said.