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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Honour to coach the Proteas: Kirsten

Honour to coach the Proteas: Kirsten

Last updated on: June 7, 2011 05:59 IST

Kirsten replaces Corrie van Zyl as coach

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Gary Kirsten, who guided India to World Cup glory and pinnacle of Test cricket, was on Monday appointed as South Africa coach for a term of two years.

The 43-year-old former India coach, who had stepped down in April after helping Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men lift the World Cup, will have Russell Domingo as his assistant, while ex-teammate Allan Donald will be the bowling coach.

"In the first place I would like to say what an honour it is to become head coach of the Proteas," said Kirsten, who replaces Corrie van Zyl as the official head coach and team director.

"Having filled the same position with the Indian national team for the past three years I believe this is a natural progression as far as my coaching career is concerned.

"My coaching philosophy will not be any different than it was for the Indian team. I always endeavour to influence players in a positive way and give them options so that they can grow both as cricketers and as people," he added.


Image: South African cricket coach Gary Kirsten gestures during a news conference in Johannesburg
Photographs: Reuters
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Kirsten's first challenge will be Aus series

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Kirsten's first assignment will be in October when South Africa hosts arch-rivals Australia and his next challenge will be the series against Sri Lanka later this year.

The affable South African never had any formal coaching experience but his three-year stint with India saw him transform the team into World champions and CSA CEO Gerald Majola said they are happy to have him as the chief coach.

"We are delighted to welcome Gary back as part of the CSA family," Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief Majola said.

"We have been through an exhaustive but rewarding process to find the best possible candidate for the job and we are totally confident that we have done just that.

"The selection of Gary has brought to an end a process that started several years ago when he first expressed interest in the position," Kirsten said.


Image: CSA CEO Gerald Majola (L), Gary Kirsten (C) arrive for a news conference in Johannesburg

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'Gary will lead Proteas to new heights'

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Majola said the board was confident Kirsten will take South Africa to new heights.

"Gary's credentials and cricketing experiences speak for themselves and the Board of CSA is confident that he will lead the Proteas to new heights in all formats of the game.

"It has been highly encouraging to see the calibre of candidates from around the world who applied for this prestigious position and it confirms the high regard for South African cricket around the world," he said.

"Gary will now make recommendations regarding his key support staff and these positions will be announced as soon as contractual negotiations have been completed," he added.


Image: Coach Gary Kirsten and Graeme Smith during a press conference in Johannesburg

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Donald appointed bowling coach

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Kirsten has played in 101 Tests between 1993 and 2004, scoring 7,289 runs, including 21 centuries and a highest score of 275 against England in Durban.

Bowling coach Donald, who is nicknamed 'White Lightning' took 330 wickets during his 72-Test career.

The 44-year-old, who turned down an offer from New Zealand, has a huge wealth of international experience having being the bowling coach of England and the Kiwis.

Kirsten's assistant, Domingo also bring lot of experience having coached South Africa at under-19 and 'A' level besides handling domestic side Warriors for the past six years.


Image: Allan Donald

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De Villiers named new skipper

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AB de Villiers was named South Africa's One-Day and Twenty20 skipper while Graeme Smith was retained as Test captain.

De Villiers will also be Smith's deputy in Test while Hashim Amla will be the ODI and Twenty20 vice-captain.

"De Villiers and Amla have been part of new tier of leadership that has been built up in Proteas' squad for some time now under the guidance of Graeme Smith," Majola said.

Smith had stood down as ODI captain following South Africa's World Cup debacle in March.

"I am obviously very excited, ready to learn. I am really looking forward to this whole challenge. I will work closely with Hashim and the coach, I have been through ups and downs and I am ready to take on anything," de Villiers said.


Image: AB de Villiers

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