Wouldn’t it be lovely if Cricket South Africa came to the party early and extended Gary Kirsten’s contract as national coach?
Kirsten has hardly been in the role for very long, and he did only sign an initial contract for two years – but that contract will be up for renegotiation in under a year. It’s fair to say that he has had reasonable success with the Proteas already – we’ve climbed the ICC rankings, but we’ve also not performed as expected on occasions.
The Proteas are about to embark on a three-Test series against archrivals Australia, and this is likely to be Kirsten’s toughest task yet.
Kirsten isn’t one to publicly pressure his employer to extend his employment contract, so we’ll help by writing about it. He says he has “enjoyed the work” during his first year, and this should be reason enough to have this discussion – he is an all round great leader and brilliant coach.
Explaining the relatively short first-up contract, Kirsten said in an extensive interview with Sport24:
I felt it would be easier to potentially renew a contract that we felt was working … rather than have to break one, perhaps, that wasn’t. So both parties get an opportunity to reassess.
Having started out my coaching career with India, I came into a completely different environment with this job – that very difference has been enjoyable.
One thing I did always know was that I’d be joining a quality cricket team. We’ve always known our Test side was really good but to see them now take another big step up and go to No 1 – where we’re determined to stay – has been particularly satisfying.
The Test team … we’ve got the right people on the bus there. Really quality players. Obviously injuries can be an issue; do we have depth in certain areas? That’s an area we’re focusing on: where do we need to bolster up, and expose guys more?
But the current XI is just a quality combination. The ODI’s and T20’s … it was always going to be an exploratory time. AB [de Villiers] is the new captain there and it’s been big shoes to fill, obviously. I think he’ll just grow and develop; we need to be patient around that. We also need to be patient in understanding our resources in those formats of the game.
We’re still a long way from settled, but we do have time now [until the next World Cup]. Next year we’ve got quite a bit of one-day cricket so we can really build in that area.
With any luck, success Down Under will further cement the fact that Kirsten is the right man for the job. You can read more of the interview here.
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