IN one of the most worst-kept secrets in South African cricket, Gary Kirsten was yesterday named as the new Proteas coach, while AB de Villiers was unveiled as the captain of SA’s ODI and T20 teams, with Hashim Amla the vice-captain.
Kirsten, who coached India to World Cup glory in April, was named coach of the national team at a press conference in Sandton yesterday with former fast bowler Allan Donald and Warriors coach Russell Domingo as his assistants.
Kirsten, who was born in Cape Town and played 101 Tests for South Africa, accumulating 7289 runs, recently returned from a three-year stint as coach of the Indian cricket team.
During his tenure on the subcontinent, he not only helped India lift the 2011 World Cup trophy, but steered them to the No1 spot in the Test rankings and moved them up to second position on the ODI log.
The 43-year-old, known for his calm and patience as an opening batsman, was a big hit in India. Players expressed their deep regret when he decided to return to South Africa to spend more time with his family.
“I am delighted by my appointment and consider it a major honour to be offered the position,” Kirsten said yesterday.
“I had a lot to consider from a personal perspective and also needed a cooling off period from India. 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 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.”
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.
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.”
De Villiers, 27, takes over the reins from Graeme Smith, who had previously stated he would step down as captain of the ODI side immediately after the World Cup. Smith remains captain of the Test team.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to the next period of my career,” De Villiers said.
“I am ready to learn and I have been lucky to have had Graeme as my captain for the last seven years. He has been an unbelievable captain.” – The Times, Sapa