Wanted: One bowling coach

2015-04-19 15:00

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The news that Allan Donald stepped down from his role as South Africa’s bowling coach did not really come as a shock, with the writing being pencilled on the wall for a while – and inked in after the World Cup.

Now the question we’re asking is: who will take over that job? Who will lead some of the best bowlers in the world with enough know-how to keep the likes of Dale Steyn motivated after a relatively poor 2015 so far?

The obvious, and highly probable, answer is Charl Langeveldt. The former Proteas paceman has been “consulting” with the side for weeks, even before the World Cup, and unlike other short-term helpers like Gary Kirsten and Mike Hussey, he’s stuck around for all of it.

Langes last played for the Proteas in 2010, but continued until September last year as a T20 player, and was hired this year ostensibly as a “death-overs specialist”.

He played 72 ODIs for the Proteas, averaging under 30, and has the respect of the players.

If head coach Russell Domingo, who has been tasked with finding a replacement for White Lightning, does not go with Langeveldt, then where should he look? Ottis Gibson is out, having taken the England bowling coach role, while David Saker has gone back to Australia.

If we were to pick, we’d ask Shane Bond to send his CV in for consideration. The former New Zealand paceman was the Black Caps’ bowling coach for a couple of years, and helped mould Trent Boult into the bowler who took the joint most wickets at the World Cup.

Bond was often injured as a player, but was quick and accurate, and could have been one of the greats if his body had cooperated. But his talents lie in coaching, it seems, and he’s with the Mumbai Indians at the Indian Premier League now. But that’s only six weeks long, so you never know.

If not Bond, then who? This is never going to happen, given how in-demand he is, but imagine if Cricket SA managed to snag Jason Gillespie? The former Australian quick is Yorkshire’s very successful head coach, leading them to the division one championship last season, and recently signed a deal to coach the Adelaide Strikers. This is definitely a case of “if you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with”.

A more entertaining, and local, option is Makhaya Ntini. Who better to keep the players on their toes, with his high-pitched, excitable banter, as well as his formidable test and ODI records? He’s found on the radio and TV more often these days, but tempting him away from the studio could be a real coup.

On the down side, he could completely exhaust the bowlers through sheer speed of speech.

Moving away from the pacemen, let’s consider spin legend Shane Warne. You’re balking at this idea, we know, but Warne does have experience with mentoring the Proteas’ spinners, coaching leggie Imran Tahir as recently as the World Twenty20 last year. This would mean he’d have to give up his media work and poker, so it’s unlikely.

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