Johann de Jager
Proteas coach named June 6
Bloemfontein - Only one candidate has been proposed for the vacant Proteas coaching position.
The panel who conducted the interviews with the prospective coaches had one simple task: Decide on a suitable successor for Corrie van Zyl.
In the end, despite rumours of more than one coach for the national side, they decided on choosing one coach out of “two strong contenders”.
The panel - consisting of Gerald Majola (CSA CEO), Andrew Hudson (National convener of selectors), Corrie van Zyl (former coach), Boeta Dippenaar (Players Union-president), Andy O’Connor (CSA Board member) and Professor Johan Coetzee (Psychologist) – did not have a mandate to consider two coaches.
Even though Gary Kirsten, 43, has stipulated certain conditions so he could spend more time with his family, the whole country will be hoping that a compromise will be reached.
The other candidate for the job is Cape Cobras coach, Richard Pybus.
The general council will hear at their meeting next Monday who has been recommended. Majola has also confirmed that they will announce the new coach on June 6, the day before CSA-day and the annual awards ceremony.
Kirsten is apparently not participating in the CSA golf day.
Since returning from India, Kirsten has said that he wants to find a balance in life between his family and work.
He says his wife Deborah has had to play mom and dad to their two boys, Joshua and James, over the past three years. She is also currently expecting their third child. This will make it even harder to convince him to take on the role of Proteas mentor.
Kirsten skipped India’s Test against the West Indies to be at his wife’s side when his first son, Joshua was born.
“It was an indescribable experience, and something no one should miss out on.
“It changed my whole life, and made me realise that there are more important things to life than cricket.
“I am not at all regretting the fact that I missed that Test to be by her side,” Kirsten said at the time.
The Proteas have scheduled home series’ against Australia and Sri Lanka for the upcoming season. Kirsten’s new baby is expected to be born at the time the Aussies are in the country.
The national side then leaves for New Zealand early in the off-season, where Kirsten played the last of his 101 Tests for South Africa.
Earlier, there were rumours that Kirsten would be appointed as co-coach with another candidate.
He would, for example only lead the team in Test matches.
Former Proteas coach, Mickey Arthur - who currently coaches Western Australia - says that route (of having two coaches) will be tough.
“The best is to have one coach."
There was also a proposal that Kirsten should serve as director of coaching, like New Zealand did with John Buchanan.
Allan Donald, former Proteas fast bowler and team-mate of Kirsten, says it will be a “big surprise” if Gary – even with all his proposed conditions – is not appointed.
“He is mentally strong.
“And his management of people is also very good.
“He did a lot of things right with the Indian team.”
Apart from winning the World Cup, India also dominated in Test cricket.
Meanwhile, Pybus says that no one has approached him yet and he is “totally in the dark” as to what is going on.
The former Pakistan coach is the most successful coach on the domestic scene, having claimed eight national titles with the Titans and the Cape Cobras, including four SuperSport Series titles.
During his last two years at the Titans, he won two titles in both seasons, and achieved the same feat with the Cobras over the past season.
“We’ll have to see if that means anything,” said Pybus.