Birrell selection shocks Ntini

Makhaya Ntini (Gallo Images)
Makhaya Ntini (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini was shocked to hear of the appointment of Adrian Birrell as assistant coach to the national side.

Birrell was last week named as assistant to new head coach Russell Domingo while Claude Henderson was appointed as a specialist spin bowling coach on a consultancy basis.

Ntini, who clearly missed last week's news, admitted he was a bit surprised at Birrell's appointment.

"What? When did this happen?" Ntini said in an interview with the TimesLIVE website on Monday.

"The news of his appointment is a big shock to me. I never in my wildest dreams saw this one coming. But I guess it's congratulations to him."

Birrell, 52, represented Eastern Province and SA Universities at first-class level as an opening batsman and leg-spin bowler and has an impressive coaching CV that included spells as head coach with Ireland and the England Under-19 team. This included taking Ireland to the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies where they beat Pakistan by three wickets to knock them out of the tournament, and also beat Bangladesh and tied with Zimbabwe.

He has worked extensively with Domingo at provincial and franchise level and the pair formed the successful coaching team which took the Warriors to the final of the Champions League T20 tournament in 2010.

"They know and understand each other well from back when they worked together before," Ntini said.

"Anyway, an assistant coach does not do that much at that level - they don't talk much, don't answer too much. I'm sure he'll work well with Russell."
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