Charl Langeveldt will not be retained as South Africa’s bowling coach when Ottis Gibson, the head coach, chooses his support panel in the next few weeks. While Gibson did not confirm who is on his list for support-staff positions, he made it clear that he will take on the bowling coach role in addition to his duties as head coach. He will appoint four other support personnel – an assistant coach, a batting coach, a fielding coach and a spin-bowling coach.
ESPNcricinfo understands former Natal and Durham batsman Dale Benkenstein, who last held a coaching role with Hampshire, is the frontrunner to become Gibson’s assistant as Adrian Birrell, the incumbent moves on from his role. While there is no clarity over the future of Claude Henderson, the current spin-bowling consultant, batting coach Neil McKenzie is likely to be retained and there is also the possibility of foreign consultants being employed.
“There are names at the moment. Obviously, Cricket South Africa have to make that happen. At the moment there are just names of people that I think can do a good job with the team, some overseas, some local,” Gibson said. “I will do the bowling, then there will be a batting coach, a fielding coach, an assistant coach and a spin bowling coach – so four, plus myself. Having spoken to Charl, bowling has always been my specialism as a coach, fast bowling. He fully understands that.”
Langeveldt has worked with South Africa since Allan Donald left the post after the 2015 World Cup. He and the other assistants who served under Russell Domingo were kept on to work with Gibson in his first assignment against Bangladesh. A new panel will be put in place for South Africa’s next assignment – the inaugural four-day Test against Zimbabwe, which begins on Boxing Day.
Langeveldt, however, will not be lost to South African cricket. Gibson has also floated the idea of appointing elite bowling and batting coaches, who will work with domestic players to assist in feeding players to the national side. “I am also in discussion with CSA about a few key positions that I think can make a difference in this country in terms of having elite coaches. So if there is an elite fast bowling coach for CSA, not just for the team, and an elite batting coach when we are on tour, and we have a couple of injuries and I want to know who is the next best fast bowler in the country, I have a person I can go to,” Gibson said. “At the moment, if I ask that question, I will be asking it to the selectors, and the selectors are doing a great job but the selectors are not coaches. Sometimes you want a coach.”
While South Africa have a high performance set-up led by former national bowling coach Vincent Barnes and an academy coach in Shukri Conrad, Gibson appears to be in search of someone who can work with franchise cricketers on a more consistent basis. For now, he is keen on establishing relationships with the six franchise coaches, with whom he met last Friday to discuss what sounds like a national coaching strategy, specifically designed for the fifty-over game and the 2019 World Cup.
“I had a really good discussion with the franchise coaches last week to get their input and tried to get a feeling and a message from them as to what I need from them and what they need from me as well. It was a really good chat. I really enjoyed meeting the guys and explaining my philosophy and how I want to take certainly the white-ball team forward towards 2019 and they are fully on board with a lot of the stuff that we discussed. Hopefully, over the next 2 months or so, we will continue to build those relationships,” Gibson said.
He will see plenty of the franchise coaches in that time as he plans to attend as much of the domestic T20 tournament as possible. “I am going to go around watching and try and see what there is,” Gibson said.
Thereafter, he has extended an open invitation to the franchise whenever the national team are in their town. “For example, if we get to Port Elizabeth and there is no franchise cricket, then the two preparation days we have is an open invitation to the franchise coach to come and see how we do things. Wherever we go in the country, there is an open invitation to the franchise coaches to be a part of our preparations,” Gibson said.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo