Neil McKenzie returns to SA cricket as high-performance batting consultant

Former Proteas batting coach Neil McKenzie has become the latest appointment as Director of Cricket Graeme Smith conducts an overhaul of the coaching structures.

McKenzie will work with the men’s, women’s, Under-19 and academy squads and report directly to Smith.

The former Proteas batsman resigned a position with the Bangladesh Cricket Board last month.

He will be charged with developing batting talent across the length and breadth of South Africa’s cricket talent pipepline.

Neil McKenzie returns to South African cricket

McKenzie has extensive experience coaching on the subcontinent, an area where the Proteas have struggled. Batting, in general, has been the Achilles heel of both the men’s and the women’s game.

“I was with Bangladesh for two years and went to the World Cup with Bangladesh, so I have come back more rounded as a coach. I’m looking forward to doing my bit,” McKenzie said.

Vincent Barnes has been appointed as the high-performance bowling lead while former Under-19 coach Malibongwe Maketa heads up the National Academy and experienced coach Shukri Conrad takes charge of the junior Proteas. Conrad will be tasked with getting the Under-19 ready for the 2022 World Cup in the Caribbean.

“I like Shukri’s style – he’s old-school, he’s to the point and gets the job done,” Smith said. “I think at that level, his coaching expertise and knowledge of the game are going to be key. The other thing is talent identification, I think that’s a real strength of Shukri’s ability as a coach and he’s got good support in the form of scouts.”

Maketa, who has served as Proteas assistant coach will also lend a hand with the Proteas Women’s team.

“Malibongwe is quite an experienced coach with a Proteas background and a high level of franchise experience, and it’s important that a guy like that is working across our next-best talent. He will also be assisting the national women’s team where and when his expertise will be required,” Smith said.

CSA backtracks on consultants claim

CSA recently raised eyebrows by committing only to employ non-white consultants in the future, drawing a complaint from the Institute of Race Relations who wrote to the International Cricket Council to complain of government interference in the sport.

The under-fire organisation has since claimed that the policy is not set in stone and have hired two white consultants in their latest recruitment drive, with Dillon du Preez named as the assistant coach of the Proteas Women.

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