Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

OPINION: Nkwe appointment puts Boucher back under the microscope

One has to wonder if CSA is using the appointment of Nkwe to force Boucher out on his own accord.

The Proteas are likely to go through another rocky patch ahead of their tour to England and the T20 World Cup later this year after the appointment of Enoch Nkwe as Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) new director of cricket.

Current Proteas coach Mark Boucher and Nkwe have a strained relationship, after Nkwe resigned as his assistant coach last year, citing a toxic and contaminated working environment, among other problems.

It will be now be interesting to see if Boucher will be able to see out the remainder of his contract under the current power dynamic, which has changed a few times over the years.

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Back in 2019, Nkwe was appointed interim Team Director of the Proteas after former coach Ottis Gibson was relieved of his duties following a disastrous 2019 World Cup campaign.

After the appointment of Graeme Smith as CSA director of cricket in December 2019, he swiftly brought in Boucher as Proteas head coach, with Nkwe then redeployed as his assistant.

Nkwe then left his post in August last year, telling the CSA members’ council that he had been undermined and reduced to being a ‘cones boy’ in a toxic working environment, while he was also unhappy with the team culture in the Proteas squad at the time.

In January this year CSA tried to remove Boucher by charging him with ‘gross misconduct’ charges, stemming from racism allegations during his playing career, levelled by Paul Adams at the Social Justice and Nation-building hearings.

Nkwe, however, had then refused to testify in CSA’s case, stating it was devolving into a ‘Nkwe vs Boucher’ issue instead of a ‘CSA vs Boucher’ concern.

Following Adams’ refusal to testify as well, CSA then dropped their case, withdrawing all charges, while Boucher stated his willingness to see out his contract, which runs through to the 2023 World Cup.

But one has to wonder now if CSA is using the appointment of Nkwe to force Boucher out on his own accord, or if the two will be able to smooth out their differences and work together.