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Coaching brain drain or recycling?

A coaching brain drain or a normal recycling of personnel to provide fresh ideas for domestic cricket?

It’s hard to know what to make of the coaching moves taking place at three of South African cricket’s six franchises. Graham Ford, who was ousted at the Dolphins before the end of last season, Richard Pybus, who was pushed out at the Cobras, and Dave Nosworthy, who quit the Lions this week, have a great deal of experience and intellectual capital.

Dave Nosworthy. Credit: Duif du Toit

Vincent Barnes, the head coach at Cricket SA’s High Performance centre, described the trio’s exit as a “massive concern”. Barnes’ “concern” is justified. As he explained, through his work at the HPC he has needed to ensure a sound working relationship with coaches at the franchises to ensure the “pipeline” he and his boss Corrie van Zyl so often talk of, keeps flowing.

Now new relationships will have to be built, and data sourcing further refined. In the case of Paul Adams, who was this week appointed to coach the Cobras, Barnes will easily strike up a relationship – in fact he’ll just have to rekindle the one he had when the pair worked together at the Impi last season.

It’s different with the Highveld Lions. No formal decision has been made on a replacement for Nosworthy. Talk is that the coaching reins will be handed to Geoffrey Toyana and Gordon Parsons – Nosworthy’s assistants – on a short-term basis, but a decision is only expected after a board meeting next week.

Toyana is currently working at the HPC with the national Under-19 team so Barnes won’t have to go far to find him. However the volatile political situation within the GCB means anything is possible – chief executive Cassim Docrat hinted that they may look “outside”. Steve Waugh anyone?

In KZN it’s a straight fight between Lance Klusener and Shukri Conrad.

The loss of intellectual capital is certainly reason for Barnes’ concern, but by the same token a fresh perspective from some “new” coaches may yet prove beneficial.

What the Zimbabwe triangular series showed – unofficial though it was – was that the depth in South African cricket is not as good as many may have thought. Sure, there was lots of experimenting with personnel and combinations, and many of the players were coming straight out of their winter break, but given the kind of players in that South African side and what everyone thought about the relative strength of domestic franchise cricket, the results were an eye-opener. – The Star

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