Durban - Former Proteas all-rounder Lance Klusener has been appointed as the new coach of the Dolphins, the Durban cricket franchise confirmed on Thursday.
The 40-year-old, who served on an interim basis after Graham Ford stepped down at the start of the year, has signed a two-year, performance-based contract at Kingsmead.
There is an option of a third year in the agreement, although that will largely depend on how he manages to transform the union during the initial 24 months.
Klusener pipped the only other candidate on the final shortlist, ex-Cape Cobras boss Shukri Conrad, after the two underwent psychometric testing last Friday.
“The last two months of the season were really enjoyable for me and I would like to thank the board for giving me this opportunity on a full-time basis,” Klusener said on Thursday.
“I think during the time I was in charge we saw some improvements and we hope to build on that in the season ahead.”
The ex-South Africa star, who spent his entire domestic career with the Dolphins, was widely seen as the favourite, with his vast local knowledge and strong passion for the franchise.
“At the end of the day, the bottom line is performance," Klusener said.
"I’ve set the standards quite high and we’ll certainly be looking to bring some silverware back to Kingsmead.
“That’s a top priority for me and, if we can do that, then in the same breath we’ll be producing some Proteas players as well.”
As a coach, Klusener has a Cricket South Africa (CSA) Level 3 certificate and has been involved with the Dolphins and provincial teams for the past three years.
He has also worked with the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, the SA 'A' team and Indian Premier League (IPL) outfit, Mumbai Indians.
The Dolphins have not won a domestic trophy since sharing the SuperSport Series title with the Titans in the 2005/06 season, when Klusener was still a player.
“Being a former Dolphin, I am very proud of my team and want to be part of the process of rebuilding the team to its rightful place as SA’s number one franchise,” he added.
“There is no doubt that the players want to win something but I don’t think that they know how to win.
“My job is to teach them how to finish games off. They got themselves into some good positions last year, especially in four-day cricket, but then didn’t know how to finish it off.
The club also confirmed that Imraan Khan had stepped down from his role as captain, but a new skipper was yet to be named.
Experienced wicketkeeper Daryn Smit is the most likely replacement, but Klusener revealed a replacement will be named in due course.