Dolphins look for new coach

2007-12-11 00:00

THE head coach position for the KZN Dolphins team is up for grabs.

When contacted by The Witness yesterday, Dolphins CEO Cassim Docrat (pictured) admitted the net is being cast across the country to find an appropriate successor to Dale Benkenstein.

“Yes, it is true, the Dolphins are looking for a coach to replace Dale Benkenstein,” said Docrat. “The position is vacant and it is a normal employment trend to look at home first, as obviously it saves time and money to look in South Africa before going elsewhere.”

Benkenstein was appointed player/

coach for the 2007/08 season before an Indian Cricket League offer saw his SA season end before it had begun.

His assistant, the approachable Yashin Ebrahim, who coached the Dolphins last season, is guiding the team at the moment.

“This doesn’t mean we are unhappy with Yashin,” Docrat said. “On the contrary, the Dolphins have a good coaching structure in place now, with Graham Ford running the academy.”

Ford, the former SA coach, does the job in the English off-season when he is free of his duties at Kent. Senior player Doug Watson takes over when Ford is in England.

Docrat said he would be happy to take calls from interested parties, at 083 212 1438.

The young Dolphins side — Watson at 34 is the senior pro with skipper Ahmed Amla next at 27 — would benefit enormously from a coach with similar experience to Benkenstein.

The knowledge gained from playing at top level doesn’t come easy and the ability to steer the Dolphins youngsters in the right direction in tricky match situations at four-day and limited-over level would be invaluable to talented but inexperienced individuals such as Wayne Madsen, Jonathan Vandiar, and Saidi Mhlongo.

It is sadly ironic, however, that so many of the experienced SA players who have recently retired are not headhunted for coaching positions at domestic level, yet the overseas market realises the value of Allan Donald, Gary Kirsten and the like.

To ensure optimal results, the Dolphins must find someone with Test and one-day experience to work in harness and complement the good work being done by Ebrahim.

Meanwhile, SA fast bowler Dale Steyn (24) is enjoying a purple patch. Coming from the cricketing backwoods that is Limpopo, the Phalaborwa Express returned a career-best 14 for 110 for the Titans against the Eagles over the weekend.

A career-best eight for 41 in the first innings was supplemented by six for 69 in the second as the log-leading Eagles were routed with more than a day to spare.

Steyn’s two 10-wicket hauls and 20 wickets in the pair of Tests against New Zealand means he has taken at least 10 wickets in his last three first-class matches.

To top it off, he also took his first career hat-trick by dismissing quality Eagles batsmen Dean Elgar, Morne van Wyk and Ryan Bailey.

And in true Neil Adcock/Peter Heine fashion, he marked Eagles top-order batsmen Elgar and Jacques Rudolph. Both took fearful blows in attempting to fend off Steyn’s aggressive fast bowling and Rudolph was forced to retire hurt with a suspected broken hand.

Another remarkable point is that the Proteas management requested Steyn be limited to 15 overs per day — he only needed 29 overs to do the Eagles in.

But the most amazing fact is that Steyn is striking at the rate of a wicket every 19,5 balls, which is unheard of in modern first-class cricket.

Not surprisingly, he has shot up an incredible 40 places to third

behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Makhaya Ntini in the world Test bowling rankings.

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