Proteas hero Malan holds focus despite off-field issues: 'We always play for our team and country'

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South African batter Janneman Malan (Gallo)
South African batter Janneman Malan (Gallo)
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The uncertainty surrounding the future of head coach Mark Boucher can surely not be helpful for the Proteas during their ongoing ODI series against India, but opening batter Janneman Malan says he was able to focus on the job at hand. 

Malan carded a superb 91 (108) in the 2nd ODI on Friday, combining for a 132-run stand with partner Quinton de Kock (78 off 66) as the hosts secured a 7-wicket win and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. 

Boucher will sit in front of an independent inquiry following allegations of discrimination levelled against him by former Proteas spinner Paul Adams through the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings conducted last year, and with that news coming on Thursday, it commanded headlines heading into the 2nd ODI.

Malan was asked about the off-field issues after the match and whether or not the issues facing Boucher had served as motivation for the team, and he said the mission for him was a simple one whenever he pulled on a Proteas shirt. 

"Every time we go out and play, we play for the team and the whole country," said Malan.

"That's the responsibility we have as a team, and nothing changed from that side.

"I don't know how every individual felt, but we just did our best to play for the team and the country."

Malan was further pushed on whether there had been any discussions around Boucher in the build-up to Friday's match. 

"I don't want to sound ignorant or uninterested, but it's a big series we have in front of us, so we can't have many distractions in terms of personal mindsets," he said.

"For me, I just tried to focus on the game and getting the team into winning positions, and to play for everyone on the team and in the country. That's just how I see it."

The third and final ODI will take place at Newlands on Sunday.

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