Following the away T20I win in West Indies, Mark Boucher has reckoned that the Proteas were very smart against the hosts in difficult conditions. While insisting that the pitch in Windies would be similar to the UAE, he added that the team has taken a lot of lessons on how to be skilful and smart.
Going into the five-match away series, the South African team were written off by a lot of people, especially considering the monumental task of surmounting the West Indies side in their strongest format, at their own den. However, the tourists did not just beat the hosts but showed great signs of competitiveness and composure throughout the series to wrestle a major psychological edge over the opponents.
Considering that the pitches in the Caribbean were going to be dry and slow, aiding the slower bowlers, South Africa’s spinners came to the party, with their misery spells, conceding very few runs. Following the 3-2 win against West Indies, the Proteas’ head coach Mark Boucher admitted that the side were very smart in difficult conditions.
"I think we were very smart in difficult conditions. The West Indies were playing their brand of cricket and we were playing our brand of cricket, and the guys bought into that. You've got to try and find a way to win and that's exactly what we did. We need to get some guys in form so we can finish off innings better, but there are so many positives," Boucher said in the post-series press conference, reported Cricbuzz.
Boucher, who since taking over the mettle, has only won three out of their last 11 tours, was put under immense pressure. However, the former South African wicketkeeper brushed aside the criticism and insisted that he couldn’t be too bothered because of the nature of his job.
"Criticism comes with the job. I couldn't be too bothered about the guys criticising me. If you're here and you see what we're trying to do and how we're trying to work things out, I don't know if you would have the same mindset."
While the Proteas had their own shares of trouble, especially with the form of David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, Boucher stated that the team is on a constant learning curve and added that they put into practice all the things that they learnt during the series. He also credited the team, stating that they could possibly beat anyone if they rock up.
"A lot of people wrote us off before we even started playing this series. As much as you can talk to players, they've got to go out there and produce a result. After the first game - when we didn't play well - we learnt a couple of lessons. We put that into practice and we won the next two. We didn't play well in the previous game and we had a really solid game today. We've got a team that, if we rock up on the day, we could possibly beat anyone."
With the World T20 being moved to the Middle East, Boucher expects similar pitches and playing conditions, allowing for spinners to flourish, making it hard for the batsmen to get their share of runs. He also reckoned that the two key things to succeed in these conditions - are to be skilful and smart.
"We're probably going to playing in conditions like this in the UAE. The wickets, after the IPL, are going to be dry. We took a lot of lessons out of how to play in these conditions. You've got to be skilful and you've got to be smart."