The South African national team had last visited Pakistan in 2007
South Africa’s head coach Mark Boucher, while talking at a virtual press conference on Sunday, praised Pakistan as a fantastic place to play cricket after the final fixture of the Proteas’ tour to the country which comprised of two Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
The South African national team had last visited Pakistan in 2007, before this series, and the recently concluded tour was a landmark achievement in bringing big international sides to the country after a tumultuous period of playing cricket mostly at neutral venues.
Despite Pakistan winning the Test series two-nil and the T20I series two-one, Boucher claimed that the experience would bode well for the players who competed during the encounters against the Men in Green.
"I think what we can learn is this is a fantastic place to play cricket. You see the history around the grounds and some of the fantastic talents that have come out of Pakistan. The spin isn't as bad as it is in India and Sri Lanka, there's not as much turn, but there's a special technique that you still have to apply, especially when you're batting. I'm really proud of the way the guys bowled; the bowling was a standout for me. I think the guys have done well in this particular situation and it can only help them going back to South Africa,” Boucher said.
"The tough part of being here was losing a series. We don't go anywhere to lose series so I think that's tough. The way we played a couple of the big moments was kind of disappointing. We got ourselves into the game and found stupid ways to get ourselves out of the game again,” he added.
South Africa’s head coach believed that their side had played good cricket throughout the series while highlighting the second T20I as an example of the brand of cricket that needed to be played at the international level.
"But I think we played some good cricket throughout the series. We had a very good meeting after the first game that we lost; we got ourselves into strong positions in that game. The second game showed the brand of cricket that we want to play where we showed intent, especially in the batting. We needed to show the right intent especially when we play against spin. We needed to be more proactive rather than react to it, and I think the guys really showed that today," he said.
"I think you can pretty much analyse any moment in T20 cricket but, in the first T20, overs 6-10 when we were batting, we only got 15 runs. That was a big issue and we probably did lose the game there. So yes, we probably could have done better there. The second game went to plan and losing three or four wickets so quickly did mean we were chasing the game. The key moments really cost us here, and for me, as a coach, we have spoken about that and we'll continue to try and get through to guys so they don't make the same mistakes again. If they can do that, then I think we'll be going in the right direction, and the series shows where we're headed with this T20 side,” he added.
Boucher claimed that the players played with bravery which was an encouraging sign for the future of South African cricket.
"The guys showed a bit of bravery with the way they played, though I wish we had been a bit smarter in the way we played the game at certain stages. What I've seen is encouraging. Even though we ran ourselves into a bit of trouble, we put up a good total. Maybe 15, 20 runs shy, but we were still in the game till the last couple of overs,” he concluded.