South African cricket is in "a transition phase", according to former batsman Ashwell Prince. Prince, who coaches Cape Cobras in South African franchise cricket, and had been in India as a batting consultant supervising a spin camp that included both South Africa A and senior team regulars ahead of tours to India by the 'A' side as well as the senior men's and women's teams.
"It's a transition phase for South African cricket," Prince told the Deccan Chronicle. "I work in the first-class system and we have first-hand experience of the young guys that are coming through. Of course, you don't become [Hashim] Amla and [Dale] Steyn overnight."
Steyn announced his retirement from Test cricket and a renewed focus on limited-overs cricket at the beginning of the month, while Hashim Amla retired from all international cricket soon afterwards. South Africa will feel the absence of both players keenly - Amla averaged 62.73 in ten Tests in India, while Steyn took 26 Test wickets at 21.38 across three tours to India - but Prince, along with spin-bowling consultant Paul Adams and high-performance manager Vincent Barnes, have been working with the next generation to try and fill the breach.
Among the players in the camp were Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, as well as promising young batsmen Zubayr Hamza, Janneman Malan, Sinethemba Qeshile, Pieter Malan, Eddie Moore and Matthew Breetzke.
"We are looking at both [physical and mental] aspects to playing spin," Prince, who played 66 Tests and 52 ODIs for South Africa - captaining the Test team twice - said. "It's about being able to understand that a good spinner on a surface providing spin will go past the outside edge and beat your bat."
Offspinner Dane Piedt and spin-bowling allrounder Senuran Muthusamy, who have been named in South Africa's Test squad, and left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, who is part of the T20 squad, were also in the spin camp, as were Tsepo Ndwandwa, Thomas Kaber, Dyllan Matthews and George Linde.
"We obviously have come here for young players to experience some of the conditions," Prince said. "What we try to do is to pass on our learnings, but we have some local coaches helping us here. Even the spin coach has years of experience to associate the idea of local conditions. It's basically to feed the young guys as much information as possible."