Bloemfontein - Allan Donald has been appointed as the new head coach of the central-based Knights franchise and will take over from Alan Kruger as of May 1, 2020.
Donald is a former South African player and is considered as one of the most successful fast bowlers of all time. The Bloemfontein-born legend made his debut for South Africa in 1991 and retired from international cricket in 2003.
"White Lightning" as he was popularly known, played 72 Tests for South Africa, taking more than 300 wickets, and retired with 20 five-wicket hauls to his name, at an average of just over 22. He also played 164 One Day International matches and retired with a bowling average just below 22.
"Allan Donald is a legend in his own right. He has the passion, the pride, and he lives for the people in the central region. The players look up to him and we know he will have an influence on the team", commented CEO of Knights, Johan van Heerden.
Chairlady of the Central Cricket Franchise, Zola Thamae, says the board has decided to be definitive in their approach of appointing Donald.
“Allan is a good candidate to take the team to greater heights. We welcome him back to the central region, and hopefully, the results will be rewarding as well.”
Kruger has done and is still doing a great job with this young Knights team, said Wayne Schonegevel convener of selectors for the Knights.
“Kruger’s contract comes to an end at the conclusion of this season, and going forward we felt that the Knights needed someone with extensive international coaching experience, who has coached at the highest level of the game to take the team to the next level.
"Allan is one of South Africa’s greatest ever cricketers and someone the players look up to, coupled with the fact that he has his roots in the central region, makes him the ideal person to achieve this goal.
"I have no doubt that Allan will add value to the growth of the individual players, as well as the team. I am delighted that he has accepted this position,” concluded Schonegevel.
"It all began as a little boy in Bloemfontein many moons ago. That's where I went to school and learnt my game; I met a lot of influential people that showed me the right way and coming back now in the capacity where I can help a team move forward is something very exciting for me," commented Donald.
"I have wanted to do this coaching position for a long time and I look forward to this challenge. It is a big challenge. We have not had the best of seasons in the past years in terms of consistency and winning games, and most of all winning trophies.
"It is a young team and there are a lot of good young players around, not just in the Knights squad, there's some good talent in the two senior provincial squads as well."
The ICC Hall of Famer has been exposed to various international dressing rooms. He was bowling coach to some of the greatest teams in the world, including England (2007), New Zealand (2011), South Africa (2013) and Sri Lanka (2017).
"I have had a sneak peek in most international dressing rooms, and I want to bring that international language to the Knights dressing room. I want to work closely with our Senior Provincial and Academy coaches, I see them as one coaching team and whatever we do at franchise level, I think Senior Provincial and Academy should be part of that thinking," concluded Donald.