SOUTH AFRICAN CRICKET:
New SA coach Ottis Gibson can help Rabada’s star soar even higher
The Proteas’ new coach might as well be Otis Redding, writes Liam Del Carme
At least that is how detached‚ in a generational sense‚ some of the younger Proteas seem to feel from Ottis Gibson, the 48-year-old who has been selected to replace Russell Domingo.
Gibson was yesterday officially confirmed as the new coach even though news of his appointment has long been in the public domain.
Still‚ for players such as 22-year-old Kagiso Rabada‚ the new coach may as well be part of the Gibson Brothers band.
"I actually haven’t seen him play or worked with him. I hear he is nice to work with and I hear he was a good bowler‚" Rabada offered yesterday, when asked about the Bajan.
"There are a lot of things being said about him. A lot of good things."
Rabada‚ though‚ was clearer about what he expects from the new national coach.
"Someone who understands the game. Someone who passes his learning on to you. I hope the team learns quickly and wins trophies," said Rabada.
Gibson‚ the strapping former fast bowler who played in two Tests for the West Indies‚ may‚ however‚ help elevate Rabada to even loftier levels.
His impact has been keenly felt in the England attack across two stints as bowling coach.
"I guess right now it is just a new and open-minded beginning‚" said Rabada.
Domingo’s demise had been mooted for a while and the defeats across all formats in England was the last straw.
Rabada seemed a little cagey about the turn of events.
"I’m not sure if it was needed because I think we were doing well‚" he said.
"We haven’t done well in the past two months, but that happens in cricket. I don’t think we were in a slump. We’ve had a great season."
A little earlier, Cricket SA CE Haroon Lorgat stressed that Gibson’s appointment followed the recommendation of a five-man panel charged to produce the best candidate.
"There is new thinking we are bringing into the country‚" Lorgat said.
"Ottis has had a good run with the West Indies and with England," he said.
"He played a fair amount of cricket here in SA. He understands all the strategic imperatives that we, as a country, face. He knows the country."
Gibson’s appointment runs until the Cricket World Cup in mid-2019, he said.
"It’s fairly standard to make appointments up until [the next] World Cup.
"He will be the coach across all the formats. It will be his choice in deciding who will work with him as the remainder of the staff‚" he said.
Later, he conceded Cricket SA was unlikely to rubber-stamp wholesale foreign appointments to the coaching and management team.
Splitting the coaching duties across the red-and white-ball formats was a consideration, but ultimately the panel opted to go with one coach, Lorgat said.
"We expect him to arrive here in mid-September because his final engagement with the England team finishes on September 11."
Domingo‚ Lorgat confirmed‚ would be the new coach of the SA A team.
"I must also thank Russell. He kept the team in a great space‚ culture and the way we played our cricket. By far, the majority of our results were satisfactory," Lorgat said.