Mark may come in from the cold
The cruelty of a sniping winter's day can so often be eased by hearty soup. Besides the warmth, there is a certain safety that comes with it, the feeling of being cared for and protected, the feeling of familiarity and most importantly, the feeling of being home.
It is that sentiment that surrounds Gary Kirsten and the South African team, now that the World Cup winner has been confirmed as the man to take them into a new age. Kirsten is the prodigal son and now that he is back on home soil, it raises an interesting question into how far back into the past he may want to blast the side.
There is only one spot in the current squad that can allow for the revival of a flailing career and that position is behind the stumps. Mark Boucher could be the biggest beneficiary of Kirsten's appointment, with the new coach unlikely to want to experiment in a department that is precarious.
Boucher made his case to keep his place in the Test team, with a hard-fought half-century in the third Test against India in Cape Town in January. He showed his big-match temperament in batting with Jacques Kallis for long enough to ensure the draw, a clear indication that he still has staying power in the longest format of the game.
His one-day career has effectively been over since June last year, but he might be in line for a recall. Neither Kirsten nor AB de Villiers was ready to comment on how the new ODI captain will manage batting, leading the side and keeping.
Even if De Villiers is mentally capable of all three, physically, he might not be.
Persistent back problems saw him don the wicket-keeping gloves just twice in seven ODIs during the World Cup, and a fitness test in Nagpur, ahead of the India game, showed why De Villiers's body may not be up to the task. He barely managed to bend down to collect the ball during his fielding drills.
Heino Kuhn, who is closest to being groomed as a successor, has played in only three T20s. Although he has been selected for numerous SA A tours, and has a first-class batting average of 44.42, the selectors appear reluctant to let him make the step up. Davy Jacobs is the other contender. He so impressed former Indian international Kiran More during his stint at the Mumbai Indians that More said he would be ready for international cricket in six months.
Jacobs's fearless attitude and hunger to succeed would make him a timely choice but he has not been included in the SA A side to tour Zimbabwe later this month.
All signs point back to Boucher, who has been the man in possession for more than a decade. He would strengthen the fragile middle order that collapsed against New Zealand in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, add vital experience to a youthful bunch and, rightly or wrongly, would give the limited-overs squad that familiar feeling of being home.