CAPE TOWN – Enoch Nkwe may only be the “interim” team director for the Proteas, but he is hoping that their tour of India will have long-standing benefits for the national team.
It is for this reason that the 36-year-old believes that although his team went down by 203 runs to the hosts in the first Test at Visakhapatnam on Sunday, there were signs the Proteas are on the right track.
“I’m proud of how the boys responded after losing the toss,” said Nkwe. “That can play around with your mind. We showed a lot of character and determination we stretched ourselves.
“I have embraced the situation and my biggest focus is to create a strong foundation. We have worked a lot behind the scenes to help this team grow in the next four years. One thing I want this team to have is the courage to back themselves and not shy away. In the first innings we did that brilliantly.
“My biggest drive is to make a difference in human beings. Right now I’m in this position and I’m grateful for that. It’s not just about the now. It’s important that we define the character of the team in the next couple of months.
“We’ve got to ensure the puzzle comes together.
“This is a great place to see that what sort of character does the team have and what areas do we need to look at and improve. But ultimately, it’s all about the big picture. And we need to be patient as some players might take a bit more time to produce the type of performances we are looking for.”
Although the Proteas only claimed 11 wickets in Visakhapatnam, there has already been an improvement from their tour of India in 2015 when they suffered a 3-0 drubbing.
South Africa’s senior batsmen Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock led the way with two excellent centuries that would have instilled some much-needed confidence in the younger Proteas batsmen that they can succeed in spin-friendly conditions.
Rookie all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy certainly produced two innings on his Test debut to show that he is capable of succeeding under extreme pressure.
Having already spent 106 balls at the crease in the first innings without being dismissed, Muthusamy struck another solid unbeaten 49 in the second innings despite the Proteas reeling at 70/6 at one stage.
Nkwe will certainly hope that Muthusamy can build on his first Test performance this week in the second Test in Pune starting on Thursday, and hopefully Aiden Markram and Theunis de Bruyn also follow suit.
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