JOHANNESBURG – Victor Mpitsang is responsible for selecting the senior men’s national team, the senior women’s one too, the under-19 boys team, the under-19 girls, Academy, SA A and Emerging squads.
There may be a few others as well. As national convenor of selectors his Mpitsang’s role is much bigger than predecessors like Linda Zondi, Andrew Hudson or Haroon Lorgat. “I oversee the process,” said Mpitsang. On Wednesday he met with CSA’s Director of Cricket Graeme Smith, Proteas men’s head coach Mark Boucher, his assistant Enoch Nkwe, CSA’s head of pathways Eddie Khoza and the high performance manager Vincent Barnes along with CSA’s high performance coaches to get to grips with where and how he ‘fits’ in the system.
The meeting gave Mpitsang some clarity about the way forward for the various national teams, with the men’s senior Proteas taking centre stage.”The meeting clarified certain things for me. I need to understand what style of play Boucher wants to employ when I start selecting teams.
“If I don’t understand your style of play and the kind of player you’re looking for, it makes it difficult to scout for those players. There was a clearer indication of what kind of style he wants to play. We will workshop it again in the next couple of weeks,” said Mpitsang adding that similar discussions will take place with the national women’s team coach Hilton Moreeng.
There’ll be a “roadshow” to explain the Proteas’ plans to the franchise and provincial coaches, with Mpitsang, keen to get input from those coaches and players too.
For now, Mpitsang, Boucher and Nkwe will pick the national men’s squad. “I’ve proposed an independent selector to come on board, we need to have a different voice coming in there.”
As for the rest of the teams, while Mpitsang is ultimately responsible and will have the final say on who is picked, there will be other selectors who will pick those teams.
“I oversee the process. My direct link is to the men’s Proteas side. From there everything links: the SA A side, Academy side, Emerging side….”
There won’t be much tinkering with the women’s national team, which has a very busy few years ahead including a 50-over World Cup next year and then the T20 World Cup in 2022, which South Africa will host. “With the resources they’ve had the women’s national team have been outstanding and so they have a system that works,” said Mpitsang.
However a lot of work is needed to build the pipeline in the women’s game with a particular focus on the SA under-19 side. “There’s a women’s under-19 world cup coming up (next year) so we have to get a team ready for that. We need to ensure there is talent identification for that team, and make sure that the pipeline starts flowing. I still want to have discussions with Hilton Moreeng. For now there will be people out there looking for talent.”
*Mpitsang said the men’s Test captain was also discussed at this week’s meeting, but a final decision wasn’t taken. “There’ll be an announcement soon. It would be unfair to name the captain a week before that first Test (against Sri Lanka). Whoever that person is needs to grasp the fact he’s the Test captain.”