South Africa news February 8, 2016

Neil McKenzie appointed SA batting consultant

Neil McKenzie will be the fifth batting consultant in South Africa coach Russell Domingo's tenure © Getty Images

Neil McKenzie will join South Africa's support staff as a batting consultant following his retirement from cricket nine days ago. McKenzie is currently playing in the Masters Champions League (MCL) and will discuss the details of his contract on his return from the UAE.

"Yes I have accepted the position but will catch up with details when I get back," McKenzie told ESPNcricinfo. It is understood his first assignment will be with the Twenty20 squad in preparation for the World T20 in India next month.

Although Cricket South Africa is yet to confirm McKenzie's appointment, at least one senior batsman is pleased the former international is involved. "I'd be happy with that, Neil was one of the' names in the hat from what I hear. I played a lot with Neil, and I have very good memories of that," Hashim Amla said ahead of the third ODI against England in Centurion. "He was an excellent batter, great cricketing brain. If he's the guy who's joining us, that would be fantastic. I'm sure he would be [pleased] as well, to be part of the South African team again."

McKenzie will become the fifth batting consultant in Russell Domingo's tenure, which began in mid-2013 when the latter succeeded Gary Kirsten. At that time, Kirsten was signed on a 50-days-a-year deal with CSA, which ended in 2015. For the World Cup, South Africa employed the services of former Australia batsman Michael Hussey, who was also with them during the T20s in India late last year. Hussey could not stay on for the Tests, which is when South Africa's batting problems began. They did not manage a single century in the four Tests and put on a top score of 214, which they matched when they returned home for the Boxing Day Test against England.

In preparation for that match in Durban, Lance Klusener was roped in to work specifically with the lower order, even though the batting woes began at the top. Klusener, who is head coach at the South African franchise, Dolphins, was only involved for a couple of days and if he had any impact, it was negligible. Following the Durban defeat, and in the aftermath of harsh criticism, South Africa brought in former captain Graeme Smith, whom Amla believed would assist them throughout the rest of the series. Smith was also commentating for Test Match Special and SuperSport, and the conflict meant he only spent one net session with the team.

South Africa did not have any other batting coach through the England series but after the final match, which they won, Domingo divulged that they had been trying to sign someone for months. "We've been looking for somebody and we've got somebody in mind. We are waiting for him to commit to us. We've had a few people who said they were interested but they wouldn't commit to it simply because traveling is not that fun when you are away from your family for a long time, and when there is a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism you are faced with when things don't go well," he said.

Whether that person was McKenzie is not known. McKenzie had been playing for Lions in their List A competition, after retiring from first-class cricket at the end of last season and then retired from all domestic cricket last week when he traveled to the MCL. He played 58 Tests, 64 ODIs and 2 T20Is for South Africa. His overall career spanned two decades with 280 first-class games, 298 List A matches and 155 T20s.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Varun on February 9, 2016, 11:23 GMT

    Doesnt matter, whether you put McKenzie, Smith or great Sir Bradman as batting consultant. As far as, your resources are not better, things will not change. The leaders (Amla/Faf/ABD {Batting}) should lead from front, which they didnt do. Their best bowlers (Steyn/Philander) are out of the park and hardly keen to play for their respected country. I dnt knw, with few months to left for T20s WC, the SA's preparation is either on track or not. But, this tym, there is no discussions of SA's chances to win this cup. The bench strength of SA's is not the international level. But, really SA needs a perfect all-rounder @ 7th down, which we, used to see back in 1995-2008 (Pollock, Klusner, Boje)

  • Julian on February 9, 2016, 8:22 GMT

    and our Head Coach continues to employ rubbish .... Good Grief

  • Rohit Kumar on February 9, 2016, 5:08 GMT

    young players needs to be groomed like david white,chad Bowes,Colin Ackerman,chod chetty,corne dry,Calvin savage,Rudi second,hassen classen,de bruyn,aidden makaram,marchant de lange,

  • Alex on February 9, 2016, 1:09 GMT

    You can have all the consultant but you have to find young talented batsman. He could help edgar though.

  • Brokensaint on February 8, 2016, 16:23 GMT

    a person much like smith with not the best technical batting style in the world either. oh on earth did they come to this. skim pickings maybe ? where is kallis cullinan? where are these guys ?. CSA never seems to not disappoint.

  • robin on February 8, 2016, 15:58 GMT

    a 2nd level test grinder who forgot where his off stump was. Mmmmm. perhaps he's a better coach than he was an international batsman.

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