How many heads will Proteas coach have?
How desperate is Cricket South Africa to appoint Gary Kirsten as Proteas coach? Are they prepared to redefine the coaching role in order to get him? Is it right to restructure the coaching position to pander to one individual? These questions will be answered shortly.
The suggestion on the table is to split the coaching position. The idea apparantly is to have a head coach who will specialise in either the test or one-day format, and will not accompany the team on all assignments.
In practical terms, the suggestion is to establish a priority as far as test cricket or one-day cricket is concerned, and then have the head coach solely in charge of that facet of the game. Other coaches will then look after the team in one-day and T20 competitions, with the head coach overseeing from afar.
This is one crazy idea in our current enviroment. We are already heading down the road of multiple captains, which is a mistake. Add into the equation a multifaceted coaching structure, and it is a recipe for total confusion.
Had the South African team been well established, experienced and successful, this may have been a consideration. However in the current climate, it is stability that is required. The coach who takes over should be either in or out. He must be prepared to do the hard yards and if he isn't, then he's not the right man for the job. A bits-and-pieces appointment is not what South African cricket needs at the moment.
I have to disagree with selection convenor Andrew Hudson that our test cricket is in good shape. Let's consider the facts in this regard. We lost the last test series to Australia at home. We drew at home with both England and India. We also drew with an average Pakistan team in Dubai and beat a very weak West Indies side in the Caribbean. I would hardly call that satisfactory considering the talent we have. Unless of course we are happy to set our standards lower these days.
One of the top priorities of the Proteas must be to win ICC events. The incoming coach has to find a way of making that happen – that will be one of the most important parts of his job description.
We need one coach to take the whole assignment by the scruff of the neck and run with it.
There may also be a problem surrounding the terms of the appointment process. Has Cricket South Africa built into the process a proviso that, should they feel they cannot find a suitable individual among the shortlisted candidates, then they can start the process again? If there is no such proviso, they may have some legal issues, and may be forced into appointing one of the remaining four applicants.
There is only one practical and sensible approach: appoint one coach and one captain for three years, back them and let them run with it.