LONDON – A real fear exists that the Proteas could be set for a massive clearout.
With a host of retirements imminent once this doomed World Cup campaign runs its course, the entire management structure could also come under review too. Coach Ottis Gibson’s contract is due to expire in September, although the national team’s first overseas coach could yet leave even sooner, particularly as he has not fulfilled his mandate here in the United Kingdom.
Equally, the support staff consisting of Malibongwe Maketa (assistant coach), Claude Henderson (spin bowling coach), Dale Benkenstein (batting coach) and Justin Ontong (fielding coach) is also under threat.
Long-time manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee’s contract has also run its course.
“What we did was that the coaches that were already in the setup before Ottis came and those that were brought in afterwards, their contracts were aligned with Ottis’ contract, purely because we wanted to avoid a situation where should we hire a new coach for whatever reason, a new mandate is given to that coach, they then can be allowed to compile their own team,” Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe said during the home summer.
However, it is the players’ departures that are most concerning. Although the Proteas have endured a dismal time here in England and Wales, South Africa cannot afford any more talent drain.
A host of former internationals have already left South African shores in recent years to pursue Kolpak careers here in England, while others have opted for the T20 freelancer route.
This has placed great strain on the first-class structure, particularly as young players can no longer draw on the knowledge of experienced players in the dressing room. Equally, the youngsters’ natural progression is being rushed in order to find “the next best thing”.
Although David Miller has not enjoyed the most explosive of World Cups, with the powerful left-hander admitting that “a lack of execution” has cost him dearly, he should form an integral part of South Africa’s future. A veteran of close to 200 internationals – 120 ODIs and 76 T20Is – Miller’s vast experience cannot be discounted easily.
With Miller already having retired from first-class cricket in South Africa, and experienced two World Cups, two Champions Trophy’s and three World T20’s, there is every chance that 30-year-old could walk away from international cricket altogether to pursue a relatively pressure-free T20 freelance career similar to AB de Villiers.
However, Miller, is not ready to hang up his national green shirt yet.
“I thoroughly enjoy playing for my country. I love the pressure. I love playing at the highest level and doing well,” Miller said.
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