Cape Town - Former Proteas all-rounder and
Dolphins captain Dale Benkenstein has been sounded out over the possibility of
becoming Ottis Gibson's deputy as national coach.
Rumours first surfaced that Benkenstein,
43, was sought by the new coach as his closest assistant when Gibson revealed
certain changes to the back-up staff at a media briefing in Johannesburg a few
days ago - including the end of Charl Langeveldt's reign as fast bowling coach,
with Gibson instead casting his own, expert eye over that area.
Current chief assistant, Adrian Birrell, is
also reportedly "moving on", creating the gap for a right-hand person for the
SuperSport pundit and former Proteas
left-arm spinner Paul Harris said on the Inside
Edge chat show this week that he knew Benkenstein had been approached,
although he would have to be prised out of an existing post at a leading
The likelihood that Benkenstein will become
a new face on the support staff may well cause certain ripples at Cricket South
Africa where, with transformation concerns in mind, a not inconsiderable lobby are
pushing for Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana to have a meaningful role with the
Ahead of Gibson's recruitment out of the
England camp, there had even been speculation that Toyana might get the senior
post, filling the Russell Domingo void.
So should he not be a shoe-in for the
Harris came up with a not unreasonable
different theory: "It might not be a bad idea if he (Toyana) sticks with the
Lions for the time being and tries to bring in trophies for them.
"That's because assistants seldom go on to
become the head coach; there is usually a feeling that 'new ideas' from outside
are required (in those circumstances).
"So if Geoff does aspire to coaching the
Proteas in the main role, he might actually be best served sticking at the
Lions a bit longer."
Of course Domingo was a rare exception to
the rule at the outset of his own tenure, assuming the head-coach mantle after
serving as Gary Kirsten's "No 2".
Benkenstein, if he agrees to come on board,
would be resuming a professional relationship, in a sense, with Gibson, as they
were team-mates - the former was captain at the time - for a prosperous two-year
period at county side Durham (2006 and 2007).
In that overlapping period (Benkenstein had
a much longer, almost 10-year loyalty at Chester-le-Street from 2004 to 2013,
scoring more than 9 000 first-class runs for them) Durham won their first major
silverware, the Friends Provident Trophy, a year before going on to earn the
County Championship title itself in 2008.
Harare-born Benkenstein then cut his senior
coaching teeth with Hampshire, for two and a half years, including helping them
earn promotion to Division One in 2014.
He left the county in mid-2016 citing
On the same SuperSport programme, former SA
captain Kepler Wessels said he fully supported Gibson taking the fast-bowling coaching
mantle, on top of his overall charge.
"It is pretty common for the head coach to
also head up the specific department he is best renowned for," said Wessels,
adding that he would favour an approach to Nic Pothas, the former Gauteng and
SA ODI wicketkeeper, as Proteas fielding coach.
Pothas is currently the interim coach of
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