Reports that Lance Klusener’s future as Dolphins coach is in the balance were “completely off the mark”, KZN cricket board chairman Graham Abrahams said yesterday.
Despite Friday’s board meeting ending without a firm decision made on Klusener’s long-term future at Kingsmead, Abrahams insisted that there was no crisis, and that the former Proteas’ all-rounder was well aware of the board’s stance.
“We expect to reach an agreement in the quickest time possible. Lance has a contract up to 2015, so the only thing we are discussing is beyond then. We are not even worried about the coming season, because he is under contract with us,” Abrahams added.
“I spoke to Lance in the morning. He completely understands where we stand, and he is preparing for next season. Reports that his future is on the line are completely off the mark,” the chairman insisted.
Abrahams suggested that an amicable resolution was imminent, despite delays that have baffled those observing from the outside looking in.
Abrahams said that Klusener had already met with the board to give his report over the end of the 2013/14 campaign, and also outlined his plans for the coming season, which includes the Champions League.
“Lance told us where he thinks we can improve, as well as giving us plans for individual players. He himself is in the process of improving his qualifications as a coach, with a Level Four course. Once he is done with that, he will meet the CEO (Jesse Chellan) and a small group to discuss what he would like (contract-wise) going forward.”
Abrahams added that the board was “very happy” with Klusener’s performance since taking over two seasons ago, and dismissed the extended contract discussions as a part of negotiations between two parties.
The popular Klusener, who also led the Dolphins to the playoffs of the Momentum One-Day Cup, has been nominated as one of the finalists for the Franchise Coach of the Year at next month’s national awards in Johannesburg.
“Lance won a trophy for the franchise and also took us to the Champions League, so of course we are happy with him. Contracts are ultimately about numbers, and once he has told us what he expects, we will meet again and discuss this.”
The Dolphins, currently enjoying a break, are expected to return to off-season training by the end of the month as they look ahead to a big season starting in September. Abrahams also confirmed that a decision on the future of Chellan as Dolphins’ chief executive had also been deferred.
“Jesse’s contract only runs out in September, so there is plenty of time,” Abrahams reasoned.
After a successful season, with both Klusener and Chellan taking central roles in the transformation of fortunes – on and off the field – whether or not their respective situations have been resolved by the start of next season is anyone’s guess.
Chellan was central in the acquisition of the Willowton Group as a sponsor, and with that deal up for renewal, it is telling that there is so much uncertainty off the field, despite the encouraging results on it. - Sunday Independent