Kirsten: It's a major honour

2011-06-06 19:59
Hashim Amla, Gary Kirsten and AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Gary Kirsten is both honoured and delighted to be the Proteas' new coach, after his appointment was confirmed in Johannesburg on Monday.

"I am delighted by my appointment and consider it a major honour to be offered the position," he said.

There were no surprises when Kirsten, former Warriors' coach Russell Domingo and bowling legend Allan Donald took to the podium as Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA) unveiled his new coaching team.

Kirsten was born in Cape Town and played 101 Tests for South Africa, accumulating 7 289 runs. His more recent claim to fame was the success he enjoyed coaching the Indian cricket team.

During his three-year stint, he not only helped India lift the 2011 World Cup trophy, but steered them to the No 1 spot in the Test rankings and moved them up to second position on the ODI log.

"I had a lot to consider from a personal perspective and also needed a cooling off period from India," said Kirsten.

"I had a tremendous time there but, as time moves on, I had to consider new things. I am humbled by my appointment and looking forward to working with the players and adding the value to the team, which I think I can add."

Kirsten emphasised the players were his most important consideration.

"It's all about the players. We'll do our best to get them ready and I promise you we'll will give 100% of our efforts."

As team director and head coach, Kirsten appointed Domingo as his assistant coach and Donald as bowling coach.

Donald, known as "White Lightning" to his fans, coached New Zealand's bowlers for the duration of 2011 World Cup. He was on the verge of renewing his contract with the Black Caps before Kirsten’s offer came his way.

"When I got the call from Gary (Kirsten), it took me about half-a-second to say yes," joked Donald.

"Some of my bags were already packed (for New Zealand) - it was very close," he said and thanked the New Zealand cricket board for their understanding.

"This is a very special day for me. I've dreamt about it and finally my dream has come to fruition. I'm very excited to be part of it,” said the former fast bowler, the first South African to achieve take 300 Test wickets.

Donald retired from international cricket in 2003 after the Proteas, as hosts, were prematurely knocked out of the World Cup, but continued to enjoy lengthy spells as Warwickshire's overseas professional and spent time as the England bowling coach in 2007.

Domingo emerged as an outstanding young coach, progressing through CSA's own coaching structure. He enjoyed success as the Warriors' coach for four seasons and guided the Eastern Cape franchise side to both the MTN40 and Standard Bank Pro20 titles in 2009/2010.

He was named Domestic Coach of the Year in 2010 and more recently coached the SA A side in both home and away series against Bangladesh A.

"I have worked with the players a lot at both franchise and SA A level, so I can give insight into the fringe and franchise players," Domingo said.

Kirsten said he would work with his coaching staff and the players to set their goals, but first he was looking forward to a well-deserved break.

"I am looking forward to seeing my family and spending time with them, a whole lot of time in fact."

Both Kirsten and Domingo start work on August 1, but Donald would accompany the SA A side to Zimbabwe at the end of June.

The Proteas' 2011/2012 season gets underway in October when they host the Australians, and later the Sri Lankans, for their summer tours.

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