Johannesburg: Gary Kirsten, who guided India to World Cup glory and pinnacle of Test cricket, was on Monday appointed as South Africa coach for a term of two years.
The 43-year-old former India coach, who had stepped down in April after helping Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men lift the World Cup, will be having Russell Domingo as his assistant. His ex-teammate Allan Donald will be the bowling coach.
"In the first place I would like to say what an honour it is to become head coach of the Proteas," said Kirsten, who replaces Corrie van Zyl as the official head coach and team director.
"Having filled the same position with the Indian national team for the past three years I believe this is a natural progression as far as my coaching career is concerned.
"My coaching philosophy will not be any different than it was for the Indian team. I always endeavour to influence players in a positive way and give them options so that they can grow both as cricketers and as people," he added.
Kirsten`s first assignment will be in October when South Africa hosts arch-rivals Australia and his next challenge will be the series against Sri Lanka later this year.
The affable South African never had any formal coaching experience but his three year stint with India saw him transform the team into World champions and CSA CEO Gerald Majola said they are happy to have him as the chief coach.
"We are delighted to welcome Gary back as part of the CSA family," Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief Majola said.
"We have been through an exhaustive but rewarding process to find the best possible candidate for the job and we are totally confident that we have done just that.
"The selection of Gary has brought to an end a process that started several years ago when he first expressed interest in the position," Kirsten said.
Majola said the board was confident Kirsten will take South Africa to new heights.
"Gary`s credentials and cricketing experiences speak for themselves and the Board of CSA is confident that he will lead the Proteas to new heights in all formats of the game."It has been highly encouraging to see the calibre of candidates from around the world who applied for this prestigious position and it confirms the high regard for South African cricket around the world," he said.
"Gary will now make recommendations regarding his key support staff and these positions will be announced as soon as contractual negotiations have been completed," he added.
Kirsten has played in 101 Tests between 1993 and 2004, scoring 7,289 runs, including 21 centuries and a highest score of 275 against England in Durban.
Bowling coach Donald, who is nicknamed `White Lightning` took 330 wickets during his 72-Test career.
The 44-year-old, who turned down an offer from New Zealand, has a huge wealth of international experience having being the bowling coach of England and the Kiwis.Kirsten`s assistant, Domingo also bring lot of experience having coached South Africa at under-19 and `A` level besides handling domestic side Warriors for the past six years.
Kirsten`s predecessor van Zyl was an interim coach after Mickey Arthur resigned following the home series against England in 2009-10 and his short tenure came to an end when New Zealand stunned South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals.
First Published: Tuesday, June 07, 2011, 00:48