Kirsten: We must be patient
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A lot of work has to be done before the Proteas hold aloft their first World Cup trophy.Gary Kirsten through the years
That was the warning from Gary Kirsten after being appointed South Africa's new cricket coach.
The 43-year-old former opening batsman, who coached India to their second World Cup triumph in April, succeeds Corrie van Zyl. The latter quit the position after the Proteas' failed World Cup campaign in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Proteas were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by New Zealand, after which India beat Sri Lanka in a tense final in Mumbai.
Kirsten, who also made India the leading Test side in the world, will coach the Proteas for at least the next two years.
"The next World Cup is still four years away and I have not even started to think about it," Kirsten said on Monday.
"We first have to create a culture of empowerment in which everybody is encouraged to take difficult decisions, rather than just one or two people.
"That will ensure freshness and flexibility in the team because ultimately a coach can only do so much and it's the players that need to achieve when they walk over the boundary rope."
He added that supporters should not immediately expect miracles.
"Cricket is a universal language, but India and South Africa have two very different cultures and I will need time to get used to how things are done here again.
"Unfortunately there is not much time before Australia arrive, but I'm confident that we will soon be at our best."
Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola also confirmed that Kirsten would be assisted by the Warriors' Russell Domingo and former Proteas pace bowler Allan Donald.
"I have always been a big admirer of Russell's work ethic and his passion for the game. His knowledge of local players will be of immense value as we will need to test a few new guys soon," said Kirsten.
"Allan has told me for years that he would like to be part of the Proteas' dressing room (again) and it's incredible to have someone with his experience and success as player and coach."
Kirsten is also "incredibly excited" about the prospect of working with his new One-Day and Twenty20 captain AB de Villiers.
"AB's name is one of the first that I would write down on my team sheet. There was no doubt that he was the right man for the job," said the new SA coach.
"He is a world class player and I believe there is a lot I could learn from him."
According to De Villiers (batsman and wicketkeeper) it's now back to the drawing board for his team.
"It was an incredible disappointment to again not win the World Cup, but this is a new beginning for the team and one I'm looking forward to immensely."