Proteas: The sudden death of the head coach position

Cape Town - With the cleanout now complete, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has exactly a month to assemble a coaching team before the Proteas leave for a tour of India in September and October. 

It is a daunting exercise, and one that falls squarely on the shoulders of acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl

It was confirmed on Sunday that the Proteas had parted ways with head coach Ottis Gibson and his entire team of assistants - Malibongwe Maketa (assistant coach), Dale Benkenstein (batting coach), Justin Ontong (fielding coach) and Claude Henderson (spin bowling coach).

Van Zyl, along with CSA CEO Thabang Moroe, will now appoint an interim management team as well as an interim selection panel for the tour of India. 

With the first of three T20Is against India in Dharamsala on September 15, time is running out. 

Speaking to Sport24 on Monday morning, Van Zyl revealed that there would be no head coach appointment moving forward. 

Instead, CSA had created the role of 'team director'. 

The team director will take on the responsibilities of the head coach and will report to the director of cricket, who will report directly to the CEO. 

It is a line of accountability that Van Zyl believes is a step in the right direction. 

"We're going to term it a team director, which is a combination of the old team manager and the head coach," Van Zyl explained. 

"The team director is in charge of the team itself and he will report to the director of cricket.

"There are clear lines of accountability and responsibility.

"The key guy to drive team performance, team culture and team environment will be the team director, which is the old head coach."

Van Zyl says he has already started the process of identifying and appointing the interim team director.

"That starts immediately," he said.

"It has to be done as soon as humanly possible. If we can do it today, we would do it, but that is not humanly possible.

"We have to go and advertise for the new director and the new roles and we're not going to get that right before the India tour.

"Time is of the essence."

In addition to appointing an interim coaching team, Van Zyl and Moroe must also appoint an interim selection panel given that former convenor Linda Zondi has reached the end of his term. 

The convenor position is now a full-time post, and Zondi will be able to apply for the post once it is advertised. 

The more urgent matter, however, is selecting squads for India. 

Van Zyl added that clarity over Faf du Plessis and his role as captain would be given by whoever is appointed as the interim team director. 

Du Plessis had said after the failed 2019 World Cup campaign that he would need to consider his ODI future, but he is believed to be fully committed to the T20I and Test captaincy. 

It all paints a picture of uncertain times ahead for the Proteas and South African cricket, but Van Zyl believes the new structure is the right move. 

"I just look at myself when I was the coach in 2011 and we bowed out at the quarter-finals, you always look at how you can do things better," he said.

"In terms of the theme of accountability and alignment, I think that's what we've done here, and we now have a system that talks to that.

"I'm going to be held accountable for what happens at national teams level." 

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