Cricket South Africa bosses informed Ottis Gibson on Sunday morning that he would not be coaching the Proteas on the team’s tour to India next month.
Shortly after that brief meeting, which also included Gibson’s support staff, Cricket SA announced radical changes to the structure around the national men's team, the most pertinent of which is the creation of a 'super' Team Manager who will be responsible for the appointment of the team’s head coach, the assistant coaches and administrative staff that accompanies the team.
“This change will herald an exciting new era for the SA cricket and will bring us into line with best practice in professional sport,” CSA’s Chief Executive Thabang Moroe said in a statement.
It brings to an end Gibson’s two year tenure as head coach, that included highs like the Test series wins against India and Australia in 2017/18 and lows that included a home Test series defeat against Sri Lanka and the poor World Cup campaign.
Ultimately it was the latter that forced Cricket SA’s Board of Directors, who held a series of meetings in the last fortnight, to end Gibson’s contract, which still had one month left to run. Over the course of his tenure, Gibson achieved a winning ratio of 62% across the three format. As late as Saturday evening, at Cricket SA’s Awards gala dinner, Faf du Plessis was still offering Gibson his support. “I’d love Ottis to stay on. It’s important in the sense that you get good experience and you get bad experience, but you learn from that bad experience.
“The fact that we did not do well at the World Cup is by no means Ottis’s fault, and he’ll get experience from what we did well and what we did wrong. And that experience will stand us in good stead at the T20 World Cup (next year),” said Du Plessis.
“I feel if we did go with a new coach you’d have to start over. If I was asked my opinion, I’d say look at the T20 World Cup and if there is a plan for someone else, than after that (tournament) it would be a good time to take over.”
In another major structural change, Cricket SA will also be appointing a Director of Cricket who will oversee all the national teams and be intimately involved in the creation of a plan for the Proteas to tackle the next 50 over World Cup in India in 2023.
For now, the current Manager for Cricket Pathways, Corrie van Zyl, will play the role of Acting Director of Cricket and will be responsible for “all cricketing decisions.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Cricket SA said that it will advertise the positions of Director of Cricket, Team Manager and convenor of selectors.
The federation also said that Van Zyl and chief executive Thabang Moroe, would appoint an interim management team - including a head coach - and a selection panel for the tour to India. Although the statement said the captain’s position could also change, Independent Media understands that Du Plessis will lead the team for a tour that includes three T20 Internationals and a three-match Test series, which will form the Proteas’ first assignment in the new World Test Championship. Moroe thanked Gibson and the Proteas long time team manager, Mohammed Moosajee, who asked not to be considered for the new managerial position, for their work with the national mens team.