Proteas job: Kirsten closer?

2011-02-22 13:09
Gary Kirsten (File)
Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Cricket South Africa stubbornly, but not necessarily unjustifiably, holds it cards close to its chest on the matter of candidates as Corrie van Zyl’s full-time successor as national cricket coach.

But it is also getting more and more irresistible to suspect that the way is gradually being cleared for Gary Kirsten to assume the mantle after the World Cup.

CSA chief executive Gerald Majola issued a statement on Tuesday confirming that applications for the post had closed.

Interestingly, he added that the panel assigned to decide the coach was “in a fortunate position to choose from quality rather than quantity”.

Many observers would venture that nobody around the world presently eclipses Kirsten, India’s coach and a former Proteas batsman, for top-flight “quality”, although it is obviously a subjective matter.

And in simultaneously pointing out that interviews from a short list would be conducted “in April, immediately after the World Cup”, Majola may just have sent out another strong signal that Kirsten is most forcefully in the frame.

It is no secret that Kirsten, who has steered the Indians to the top of the Test rankings and earned the rich respect of Indian superstars like Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, did not want to be seen as being involved in some sort of conflict of interest by courting the country of his birth while still very much aiding India’s cause through the premier ODI event on the calendar.

The applications process has dragged on for some time – including featuring an extension recently – and by finalising it after the World Cup, Kirsten would be in a much more desirable “free agent” position.

Various other distinguished names like Duncan Fletcher and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, plus one or two other domestic candidates, have been linked to the post over the past few weeks. They are not to be sniffed at.

Perhaps I will yet be proved wrong, but I keep putting two and two together and coming up with a compelling answer of “Gary Kirsten”, based on the sequence of steps in this process.

Enthusiasts of any other candidates may take solace in the fact that mathematics was never this writer’s strongest suit in the classroom, but ...


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