Prolific former South Africa swing bowler and now Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt feels Cricket South Africa (CSA) can be very proud of the fact that exuberant young talent has come through the ranks in the last domestic season and the rising stars haven't looked flustered on the big stage.
Langeveldt claims hold water as players such as Janneman Malan and Anrich Nortje have burst onto the scenes emphatically and weren't overawed by all the instability that CSA has had been going through over the last few months because of the sudden changes in support staff - which usually disrupts the preparations for series.
Graeme Smith, who has recently been named full-time Director of Cricket, roped in new Team Director in the shape of former Proteas wicket-keeper batsman Mark Boucher and with him a new support staff in December ahead of the tour to England.
South Africa lost the Test and Twenty20 series but they squared the One-Day battle. Thereon, South Africa were the second-best against Australia in a T20 but then they bounced back tremendously, whitewashing Australia in the ODIs.
Langeveldt was previously working with Bangladesh as their bowling coach but Graeme Smith wanted his former teammate to join forces with him. After returning home and quickly taking on the mantle with a brand new task and not to mention a tough England tour wasn't an easy assignment as he would have imagined.
“It’s been an interesting time coming back from Bangladesh,” he stated. “It’s always nice to coach your country. I think when it came to making the deal back then, Jacques Faul (Chief Executive Officer) and Graeme Smith were brilliant behind the scenes making it possible for the transfer to come through to South Africa. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) were also excellent and they were brilliant in releasing me.
“It was never going to easy. We (the new coaching staff) started with the Test series against England in December and we didn’t have enough time as a team to gel.
“England being England and having a settled team with guys who have played a lot more Test cricket together than us, we had a lot of youngsters coming into the team and into the set-up, that was really hard.
Langeveldt has a lot of faith in the abilities of newbies and is satisfied with their progress in a short span of time. He is particularly content with bowling spearheads.
“The guys played well in patches but as a unit we just couldn’t get it together. We got better in the limited-overs tours. Lungi Ngidi was excellent, Temba (Bavuma) and Quinny (Quinton de Kock) were also good. Against Australia Lungi again with the ball was fantastic and then Janneman was outstanding. Overall we were a lot better.”
Even though South Africa management decided to rest the seasoned campaigners and make wholesale changes, the results haven't been unsatisfactory and the new combination gave a tough time to topsides and this is something that really pleases Langeveldt.
”I really enjoyed how we competed as a young bowling attack at an international level,” he opined. “Anrich, Lungi, (Lutho) Sipamla, (Tabraiz) Shamsi, they all stepped up very well.
“All-round everyone chipped in. Where we came from starting in December and where we ended up, I think Cricket South Africa can be really proud of what they did on a domestic level to get these players through. That’s where these players come from and they showed a lot of maturity which is a big plus for us going forward.”
Langeveldt sees a lot of potential in the domestic circuit and expects it to churn out quality players on a consistent basis and had COVID-19 crisis didn't jolt the world, the Proteas bowling coach would have been hunting for more promising players in this month as per the original schedule.
“We are looking around for the up and coming fast bowlers,” the coach added. “We were supposed to have a camp starting on April 19 for six days, but that had to be cancelled because of the virus, but we are definitely looking because you always have to have replacements. There have been a few names that have popped up, Lifa Ntanzi, Gerald Coetzee, there’s Glenton Stuurman, Stefan Tait and then obviously Lutho Sipamla, whose been brilliant in the national set-up.
“So there’s a few out there and these are the guys that will be the back-up for the national team and they are the ones we want to see.”