New coaches, new ideas

2012-07-06 00:00

THREE of South Africa’s cricketing franchises have turned over coaches. While it may seem like a haemorrhage of coaching intellectual property, the door has been opened for fresh coaching talent to make its mark on South African cricket.

Unlike England, South Africa’s cricketing landscape does not allow for most of its former players to become coaches. A prime example is current bowling coach Allan Donald, who served coaching apprenticeships in New Zealand and England before Gary Kirsten roped him in.

A country like Australia has become used to losing some of their best talent because they only have six states to absorb the many teachers who graduate from their colleges, but the Big Bash League has ensured that most of their coaches stay in their system. Some, like former Australian bowling coach Troy Cooley, slipped through the net and inflicted damage on his home country before being let loose on his home turf.

South African cricket has recently lost the services of Dave Nosworthy, Richard Pybus and Graham Ford. Pybus and Ford upped sticks to take on two difficult assignments in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, respectively. The former has lots of potential but has yet to find the right combination to unlock it.

As Pybus showed during his stint with Border, whom he took to three domestic finals in the late nineties, he has an uncanny ability to get the best out of the talent available to him. Ford turned Natal into a major cricketing force and is best suited to getting Sri Lanka to adjust to life without Muttiah Muralitharan. He did, after all, do an excellent repair job in the aftermath of Hansiegate.

Nosworthy rejuvenated a fading Lions side to the point where for them, winning is not a comic book thought, but something well within their abilities. It would not come as a surprise if Nosworthy gets the New Zealand coaching job with his vast experience and success with the Canterbury Wizards serving him well.

This might seem like a gaping wound with a lack of Vitamin K to help form the clot, but a door has been opened for the likes of Geoffrey Toyana and Paul Adams to get to grips with franchise cricket. Toyana knows that the job will not be very easy knowing that the Lions have become very competitive and he will have to build on the foundations so painstakingly laid by his predecessor.

Adams has an even more difficult task of continuing Pybus’s trophy successes. It may sound like an insurmountable task for both, but with South African first-class cricket not having the 30-something grizzled veterans so freely available in England, they have to manage players very carefully and also deal with the egos that might emerge as the season winds along. Players might see themselves as equals of young coaches (Andre Villas-Boas for example who was a victim of his ego) who are not past the 40-year barrier. Fortunately, South African cricket has not been blessed with the kind of fracas that once saw Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen going at each other’s throats.

We would not like to see South Africa pinning its hopes on a foreigner once Kirsten calls time on his stint. While foreign expertise can be a breath of fresh air and offers a different cricketing outlook, it should not reach the point where no coaches are coming through.

Except for Pakistan to an extent, Asian countries have no faith in their home-grown coaches, which has to be disheartening for former players who have coaching aspirations.

Australia took a left-field choice in Mickey Arthur, but which country would not like to tap into the expertise of the first coach to have won a series in their country since the West Indies did so in 1993?

Big ups to the Cobras and Lions for rewarding the right-hand man. While the trio might have taken plenty of intellectual capital with them, a new coaching era has been ushered in.

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