Home Sport Malibongwe Maketa making Proteas sweat ahead of Test series with Australia

Malibongwe Maketa making Proteas sweat ahead of Test series with Australia

Johannesburg — It’s been less than a week since he and the Proteas squad arrived in Australia and already interim coach Malibongwe Maketa has made life difficult for the players.

“The guys are not liking me at the moment in the sense that we’ve had some really hard (training) sessions,” the softly spoken Maketa said from Brisbane on Tuesday. There may be some grumpy players, although it’s safe to assume Dean Elgar, the captain, isn’t one of them.

Elgar last week described Maketa as a coach with “a real old school mentality”.

“He understands what the game demands. It’s going to be really tough as an interim coach for him to make a massive impact, but we’ll be there to help each other,” said the Proteas Test skipper.

Maketa shared those sentiments, explaining that he and Elgar’s relationship was strong, and he understood how best he could impact the team ahead of what will be a tough three-match series that starts at The Gabba a week from Saturday.

“The only way I can affect the game is through preparation,” said Maketa. “Once the game starts I hand it over and the biggest thing then is, how do we support the players as a coaching staff, by consistently asking ourselves how we can turn the game around or we can stay ahead in the game and give that information to the players or Dean and make sure we support them.”

Maketa would have felt the need to make the players sweat as many of them who were part of the T20 World Cup have not had a lot of game time in the domestic Four-Day series, or in the case of Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma, none at all. Meanwhile the Australians would have already played two Tests against the West Indies ahead of the Gabba match.

“We have the four-day match this week and it is really important for us to acclimatise to conditions, especially the batters,” said Maketa.

While not mentioning Rabada or Bavuma by name, Maketa said he was pleased with the transition all the players involved in the World Cup had made following the disappointment of the Proteas’ exit from that competition. The shock defeat to the Netherlands, which meant South Africa missed out on a semi-final spot, left Bavuma shattered emotionally, while Rabada claimed he felt burned out at the tournament.

“Since we got here the focus has been on how we are going to win the series and the players that were here during the World Cup have contributed mainly (by sharing information) about conditions, although it was T20 conditions.

“We have been challenging them to make sure they are putting their energy into the team, which is what they have done. It being Test cricket there is different pressure and from that point of view the mental shift has happened earlier than expected given the energy we have received from them,” Maketa explained.

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