New Dolphins coach a crucial choice

2007-12-21 00:00

THE announcement of the new KZN Dolphins coach to replace Dale Benkenstein is close to being finalised, franchise CEO Cassim Docrat told The Witness yesterday.

“Yes, we are hoping to name the new coach by January 7 or so,” Docrat said. “It is certainly the board’s intention to finalise this matter before the first Dolphins match in the New Year, which is against the Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni from January 10 to 13.”

It is understood that one of the Dolphins’ head coach applicants is a vastly experienced former Test and one-day international all-rounder, recently retired from the game, who appears to have a fantastic pedigree for the job.

With an average age of 23, the Dolphins are a young, inexperienced side who need someone with the necessary playing experience to guide them through what are inevitably going to be tough times out in the middle.

As former Natal, South Africa and current Kent coach Graham Ford said to The Witness this week, it is out in the middle that a young player can learn far more than anything a coach can teach him in the nets.

If one takes this viewpoint to its logical conclusion, it would appear obvious that someone whose playing experience betters that of Benkenstein is the perfect man to step in.

As assistant coach and current senior mentor in the absence of “Benky”, the likeable Yashin Ebrahim, indicated to The Witness, what could be a particular problem for the Dolphins in the near future is the effect the absence of experienced limited-over campaigners — Benkenstein and Lance Klusener in particular — will have on the team’s chances in the upcoming competitions.

The pair’s ability to make the right decisions in the heat of the MTN one-day championship (February and March) and the subsequent Standard Bank Pro20 Series (March and April) will be sorely missed.

The right choice of coach would have far-reaching implications for Dolphins’ success in the future, while a short-sighted decision could set them back years in terms of winning trophies, which is surely what the professional game should be about.

Docrat said that applicants who have not been contacted by December 23 can consider their application unsuccessful. Final interviews with the Dolphins selection panel will be conducted early next month.

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