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Mark Boucher to stand down as South Africa coach after T20 World Cup

Mark Boucher will leave his role as South Africa’s head coach at the end of the T20 World Cup in Australia, Cricket South Africa has confirmed. Boucher briefed the South African team at a meeting on Monday afternoon, at the end of the final Test against England in London.

Boucher has led the team since December 2019, leading South Africa to 11 test victories, including a memorable 2-1 home series win against India in January this year, and bringing them close to qualifying for the 2021 T20 World Cup. final after five consecutive T20I wins. The team is currently second in the ICC World Test Championship table and has one last shot at a major trophy at this year’s T20 World Cup. Boucher’s contract would run until the 2023 World Cup – which was scheduled for February-March of that year and then moved to October-November.

“We are very surprised and shocked. He told us that he wants to pursue other interests and opportunities,” Pholetsi Moseki, CEO of CSA told ESPNcricinfo. “But we are happy that he will be there to bring South Africa to the T20 World Cup.”

South Africa’s cricket director Enoch Nkwe is set to begin appointing a new coach soon. It is understood that South Africa may seek an interim coach for their Test series against Australia during the Holiday Season and the Home Tests and then appoint someone on a permanent basis.

Moseki said: “We would like to thank Mark for the time and effort he has invested in South African cricket over the past three years as Head Coach. He has helped us navigate through difficult waters after so many senior players have left through retirement. and helped build a strong foundation for the next generation of Proteas. We are immensely grateful to him for the work he has done and wish him every success in the next chapter of his career.”

Despite CSA’s good wishes to Boucher, the organization has had a rocky relationship with their head coach since his appointment in the summer of 2019-20. Boucher was appointed by former director of cricket (DOC) Graeme Smith and replaced interim team director Nkwe, who became his assistant and has now taken over from DOC. The pair have since maintained that their relationship is strong and Nkwe also expressed appreciation for Boucher.

“We are deeply saddened by Mark’s decision to leave us, but we also understand and respect his wishes. He is a Proteas legend and has done so much for the game in our country, both on the pitch and in the last three years out there. which we really appreciate,” Nkwe said.

“He has built a solid platform for South Africa to thrive in all three formats and I am sure we will see the results of that at the T20 World Cup next month. He already has a solid squad, one that is growing in confidence , and we look forward to seeing them in their important series in India before they head to Australia.”

At the time of Boucher’s appointment, it was controversial because the coaching post was never advertised — which was later revealed in the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings against corporate governance — and replaced Boucher, who is white. South Africa’s first black African head coach, Nkwe. That decision came up as a topic of discussion during the SJN hearings. Smith was later acquitted of discrimination when it was revealed that he had recruited Boucher on good cricket grounds.

Boucher was also involved with the SJN for his historic role in participating in a racially discriminatory team song (Paul Adams was called ab**** s*** sang to the tune of Boney M’s ‘Brown girl in the ring’ in fines’ meetings) and his contemporary handling of racial issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement. South Africa didn’t kneel at first, then raised a fist giving players the choice of taking a knee, raising a fist or standing at attention and were then ordered by the board to collectively take a knee at the T20 World Cup from last year . CSA also charged Boucher and he was scheduled to hold a disciplinary hearing in May, but the charges were dropped when CSA found they were no longer tenable.

During the time Boucher was under scrutiny, he continued to command the support of the national team. Dean Elgar said the constant negativity around the coaching staff affected the team.

Under Boucher, the South African test team rose from number 7 in the rankings in June 2021 to the top of the World Test Championship points table. They remain out of the fight for automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup, and their chances of making it are slim after forfeiting ODIs in Australia, and they are among the favorites at the T20 World Cup. It is unknown if Boucher’s support staff, including Charl Langeveldt (bowling), Justin Ontong (fielding) and Justin Sammons (batting), will continue to serve as it is likely that the new head coach will be able to choose his own staff. . staff.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South African correspondent

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