Family key to Kirsten`s S Africa cricket coaching role

Cape Town: Gary Kirsten’s family could hold the key to whether the former Test opening batsman becomes the next coach of South Africa.

After a highly successful stint as coach of India, who won the World Cup and earned the number one ranking in Test cricket under his guidance, Kirsten would be hot favourite to play the same role for his native country -- if he wanted the job.

Officials have refused to reveal whether Kirsten is on the short list of candidates due to be interviewed Monday and Tuesday.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola told AFP: "We are not releasing any names because some of the people on the list are under contract in other jobs."

Kirsten has been tight-lipped about his future plans, but he has made it clear that whatever he chooses to do will have to enable him to spend more time with his family.

With a wife and two young sons, family was cited as the main reason why he did not renew his contract with India when it expired after the World Cup.

"It is important to continue growing as a coach," he said in an interview on the International Cricket Council’s World Radio Show.

He said he had received a number of offers, adding that his final decision would be influenced by "what is most appropriate from a career and family point of view".

Kirsten said his options included a stint with an Indian Premier League team, which would involve only a relatively short time away from home.

He is also committed to heading the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy in Cape Town, his home city, aimed at nurturing talented cricketers between the ages of 16 and 24.

Coaching South Africa would not be as disruptive to his family life as coaching India, but he would still have to spend plenty of time away from home.

Kirsten dropped a hint that he could be in the running.

"I’ve got to make a decision pretty soon," he said.

That ties in with Cricket South Africa’s timetable. Majola said he hoped the panel appointed to handle the application process would be able to make a recommendation following the interviews.

He said the chosen person would have to be approved by the CSA board at a meeting at the end of the month and no announcement would be made until then.

Andrew Hudson, convener of the national selectors and a member of the panel, said he hoped the appointment would be made soon because he wants the new coach to be part of the discussions around choosing a successor to Graeme Smith as South African one-day captain.

Smith stepped down as ODI skipper after the World Cup, but Hudson said Smith would probably stay on as Test captain.

"Our Test cricket is in good shape. I am happy for Graeme to continue as captain."

The short list is understood to be down to four names following the appointment of Cape Town-based former England coach Duncan Fletcher to succeed Kirsten with India.

Majola said strong applications had been received from South Africa and abroad.

Former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus, who guided the Cape Cobras franchise to two of the three South African domestic titles last season, is understood to be a contender.

Other names that have been mentioned include former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and former Australian all-rounder and Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody.

Fleming, though, told a New Zealand newspaper after he was mentioned as a possibility for the India job that he was not interested in a full-time coaching position.

Bureau Report

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