McKenzie back to assist Proteas

Neil McKenzie (Gallo Images)
Neil McKenzie (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - One of the big surprises when Proteas coach Ottis Gibson announced his new backroom staff late last year was the omission of batting coach Neil McKenzie

READ: Bookies back Proteas to whitewash India at the Wanderers

The former Proteas opener was ditched, along with bowling coach Charl Langeveldt and assistant coach Adrian Birrell

But now, on the eve of the third Test against India starting at the Wanderers on Wednesday, it looks like McKenzie is back. 

Dale Benkenstein is the new batting coach of the national side, but he was keen on getting McKenzie to join up with the squad once more. 

According to captain Faf du Plessis, McKenzie will be spending time with the "next tier" of Proteas batsmen as they look to the future. 

"He is just assisting. He was part of the Proteas set-up for a while," Du Plessis explained.

"His role going forward will probably be to look at the next tier of batsmen coming through.

"It says a lot about Dale that he’s happy to bring in guys who were in his role before him.

"The two of them get on really well and I think it’s a great thing for Cricket South Africa (CSA)."

Du Plessis added that CSA should always look at consulting with former players who had contributed significantly to the national cause. 

"The more guys in key positions who have been involved with the team for a long time and know what it takes to be involved as a player at this level, the better," Du Plessis said.

“They can look at the next tier of players and make sure that they have a lot of insight."

There was the perception that McKenzie had been drafted in for the Wanderers Test to help the struggling Quinton de Kock.

The Proteas wicketkeeper, who is not in the finest touch with the bat at the moment, has spoken previously of the good work McKenzie had done with him last year. 

"If that was the case then I didn't know about it," Du Plessis said.

"The decision to bring Neil in was taken before Quinny didn't make runs at Centurion." 

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