PRETORIA (Reuters) - Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada says the new-look South African squad are learning fast from head coach Mark Boucher and batting consultant Jacques Kallis ahead of the first test against England in Centurion that starts on Boxing Day.
Ex-wicketkeeper Boucher and all-rounder Kallis are new to their roles, but have 986 games of international cricket behind them across all three formats, including 313 tests, and will aim to get the ailing South African red ball side back on track after a dismal 2019.
“Jacques and Mark are both greats of the game so just to listen to them share their knowledge – not necessarily skills based, but how you mentally approach certain situations. They speed up your learning process,” Rabada told reporters on Thursday.
“They have a plan, they are really decisive about what they want. There is an expectation on every player to do what is required.”
The fiery Rabada, number two on the test bowler rankings, says he is also looking forward to working with bowling consultant Charl Langeveldt, who will link up with the squad after being released from his contract with Bangladesh.
“I really enjoy working with him, he is in the same bracket as Jacques and Mark. They all know what they are talking about and played at this level for such a long time,” he said.
“Everyone is on the same page, we are still trying to define roles for each player to execute, but that is a process and it will come.”
Rabada knows the challenge that the tourists will present, especially as South Africa have lost their last five tests and have not won a home series against England since 1999.
“England are on a high in world cricket at the moment, they have been playing a lot of test cricket and have a team that is well-drilled and has been playing together for some time,” he said.
“Our challenge is that we are going through a transition period and we need to see if we can step up. We believe we can, that is the mood in the changeroom.”
England’s tour match against South Africa A that starts in Benoni on Friday has been downgraded to a three-day friendly encounter due to a bug that has laid a number of the tourists low, including fast bowlers Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis