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There’s a danger that the overwhelming players’ favourite to take the Dolphins’ coaching job, Lance Klusener, may be edged out because of boardroom politics.
The Mercury understands that the original shortlist of six coaches was whittled down to just two people this week – Klusener and former Cobras coach Shukri Conrad, who was fired from his job at the Cape Town-based franchise in April 2010.
The Dolphins players, to a man, have told the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union that Klusener – a local hero if ever there was one – has been their preferred choice since he took over as interim coach after Graham Ford resigned last season.
They even lobbied for a player representative to sit on the selection panel, a request that was turned down.
One of the Dolphins’ players, whose name cannot be revealed, said yesterday: “He’s the guy who picked us up after Ford’s departure. He gave us added intensity. He’s obviously got our respect in terms of what he has achieved in his |career, but most of all he’s a guy who wants what’s best for Dolphins cricket. It’s a no-brainer that he should be chosen. I can’t imagine how it’s come down to this.”
The president of the union, Faeez Jaffar, said he hoped the panel would be able to make a final selection by the end of the week. He said that the two men would undergo psycho-metric tests this week before a final decision was taken.
Asked why he felt this was necessary, Jaffar replied: “We want to gain an added insight into the candidates. The key is that we make the right decision for Dolphins cricket.”
It’s hard to know what more a questionnaire would reveal about Klusener that 15 years as a loyal servant of South African and KZN cricket hasn’t already shown. For the players, and those who have the interests of the |Dolphins at heart, the answer to Jaffar’s question is surely obvious.
The selection panel is composed of six people: Jaffar, who is the convener, vice-presidents Logan Naidoo and Ernest Molotsi, the president of KZN Inland, Yunus Bhamjee, the convener of the |Dolphins’ selectors, Yunus Bobat and former Proteas and Dolphins wicketkeeper-batsman Errol Stewart.
The four other coaches on the original shortlist were former West Indies and Border fast bowler Vasbert Drakes, former West Indies all-rounder and Dolphins coach Eldine Baptiste, former New Zealand cricketer and coach Grant Bradburn and former Eastern Province cricketer and coach Grant Morgan.
Many are aware that this year has been a period of turmoil in South African cricket with the bonus scandal; fewer realise that it’s also been a period of volatility for franchise coaches with Ford quitting the Dolphins, Richard Pybus the Cobras, Dave Nosworthy the Lions and Anton Roux leaving KZN Inland.
All the resignations have a common denominator: political manoeuvring within the franchises, with power-hungry administrators trying to control the operations division.
A distinguished South African first-class cricketer, recently retired, said yesterday that he was disturbed by the level of destructive politics that existed in SA cricket.
“Let me put it this way,” he said, “there is simply no question that, given the options, Lance Klusener is the right man for the job.
“Unlike many in this province, he is only interested in serving KwaZulu-Natal cricket.”