Cricket : McKenzie joins Proteas as batting coach
FORMER Proteas and bizhub Highveld Lions batsman, Neil McKenzie, has been appointed as batting coach of the Oxigen Proteas for the upcoming KFC T20 International series against England and Australia and the ICC World T20 in India next month.
Proteas Coach, Russell Domingo, confirmed the decision on Wednesday in Cape Town, after a lengthy search for the ideal candidate.
“Neil McKenzie joins us, it’s great to have him on board,” Domingo said. “It’s been something that we have been trying to do for a long time. We have explored a few options and finally one guy has committed to us, we are ecstatic that Neil will be joining us.
“Neil will work with us until the end of the T20 World Cup,” he added. “Things will be assessed from there, it’s the end of the cricket season, and we will look at things going forward. He has played a lot of Test, ODI and T20 cricket both locally and overseas.
“The main thing with Neil will be the relationship he develops with players, as a coach, that is the most important ingredient. Being able to work with people and to get people to understand and listen to ideas that you might have of a particular skill. Some guys might have all of the knowledge but often their way of getting it across might not be the best way, that’s the most important thing and I think he will be good at that.”
McKenzie, who joined the squad as they prepare for the first KFC T20 against England at PPC Newlands on Friday, says he is honoured to be given the opportunity and hopes his vast playing experience will give him the tools to make a difference in the environment.
The 40-year-old is fresh from the Masters Champions League in Dubai where he represented the Virgo Super Kings, with the marquee event adding to his 58 Tests, 64 One-Day International’s (ODI), 155 domestic T20’s and a mammoth 19041 first-class runs.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be aiding in the batting side of things,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in the setup, I haven’t been here since 2009. It’s a good bunch of exciting players and I’m really keen to get started working with all the professionals and to hopefully try and make a difference for South Africa.”
The Proteas started their training on Wednesday afternoon after a two-day break, and will look to carry their ODI success over to the T20 format with the World T20 looming next month.
“We play England in our first game of World T20, that puts a lot of importance on these two games,” Domingo said. “It will help us understand their strengths and weaknesses and any mental advantage we can get over them will be very important for us. That’s the added bonus of playing England, even if it’s in different conditions.”