Cape Town: Former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener, who will be the assistant batting coach for India tour, said that bringing back the passion in players to play for the country is half the battle for the Proteas' revival.
South Africa had a disappointing World Cup 2019 campaign as they finished on the seventh spot out of 10 teams in the tournament.
The team will be facing India now for a three-match T20I series and three-match Test series. However, Klusener will only be guiding the team for the T20I series during the tour.
"From the outside and what I've seen, I just don't necessarily see that passion to play for South Africa anymore. That's something that the coaches will need to tackle and have a look at," Sport24.co.za quoted Klusener as saying.
"That's just what it looked like. I haven't been in the system and I'm sure the guys were trying, but it just didn't look like it should. I think finding that passion of playing for your country again is half the battle. There is no other option ... we have to get things right," he added.
AB de Villiers has retired and Hashim Amla also announced his retirement from all formats of the game this month. Pacer Dale Steyn also announced retirement from Test cricket while other experienced players like Faf du Plessis are nearing the end of their careers.
Klusener said that replacing such players after their retirement take years as they leave 'huge gaps'.
"You don't just replace a Faf (Du Plessis), Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla or AB de Villiers ... it takes years to replace those guys. Those quality players leave huge gaps, so it is a challenge. Those players have also kept other players out of the team and some of those players are now on Kolpaks and playing overseas so we don't have that experience to draw on," he said.
"If you take where South African cricket is now, it will take a long time. It's going to need some patience and understanding from a lot of people, but if there's some consistency with the right people in the right places then we've got half a chance," Klusener added.
South Africa will face India for the first T20I match on September 15....