“Our relationship is strong and is based on hard work, so we’re similar in what we’re looking for in terms of the team and the performance,” Maketa said in his first media engagement since being appointed in the role. “I’m here to support Dean in every way, to make sure that he not only gets what he wants but that he gets the guys onside in terms of performances.”
Elgar has used similar terminology to describe how he sees Maketa’s tenure. On departure to Australia last week, Elgar said Maketa “understands his role, which is going to be a supportive role,” and that Maketa “understands me as a cricketer, as a person and as a leader.”
“I know it changed people’s careers, but for us, on the other side of the spectrum, it was an unfortunate incident. And, where we are now, it’s way back,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to this opportunity to be here and to compete against a strong team.”
ESPNcricinfo understands that he intends to apply for the job and that CSA will split the role between red and white-ball coaches. A strong showing in Australia could make Maketa impossible to ignore.
“The guys are not liking me at the moment in the sense that we’ve had some really hard sessions.”
He promised to maintain a brand of “brave” cricket, and has been challenging the players in training. “The guys are not liking me at the moment in the sense that we’ve had some really hard sessions,” he said. “I’m more relaxed when the game starts. I’ll be comfortable that we’ve done all the work and everything else is down to the players.
“As a coaching staff, I encourage us not to get in the way of the players, but to trust the work that they’ve done and make sure the environment is conducive for them to perform.”
That clear separation of powers between coaching staff and players and the outlining of roles and responsibilities is something Elgar has always advocated as the team tried to block out the administrative upheaval of the last three years. Results have been mixed but Elgar anticipates they will start to curve upwards as the new set-up settles in and cricket can take centre-stage.
“For the first time in a couple of years, it’s at its most stable,” Elgar said. “We’ve had a lot of changes with regard to administrators in CSA. As players, those things can’t hinder us from performing. We’ve almost gotten used to those kinds of bad headlines. For now, it’s stabilising quite nicely.
“We’ve got a new CEO, we’ve had a new board come in and make good cricketing decisions, and we have a new director of cricket who’s really focusing hard on our Proteas brand. We need to do what we can do to try and get results on the board. That’s our currency as players.”