England v South Africa, 3rd NatWest T20I, Edgbaston

Kirsten takes break before World Twenty20

Andrew McGlashan

September 11, 2012

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South Africa coach Gary Kirsten leads catching drills, Nottingham, September, 4, 2012
Gary Kirsten will miss South Africa's final T20I against England in order to spend time with his family © PA Photos
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Gary Kirsten, the South Africa coach, will leave the England tour a couple of days early and miss the final Twenty20 international at Edgbaston to spend some time with his family before the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Russell Domingo, the assistant coach, will take charge of the squad for the last match of the tour. South Africa remain 1-0 up after the washout at Old Trafford and it had been a long-term part of the planning that Kirsten would spend a few extra days at home.

"I have made a decision to go home and to see my family, that is something that has always been part of my thinking when I took up this job," he said. "I think it will be good for the team, just to have me out of the space for a little bit and to see how the ship runs. I'm looking forward to seeing how that unfolds."

South Africa have a warm-up match in Sri Lanka on September 17 before their first group match three days later against Zimbabwe. Following the tournament South Africa will return home for a short period before leaving for their tour of Australia, which includes three Tests from early November to early December, before a full home season with visits from New Zealand and Pakistan. Other than missing part of the Australia Test in Cape Town last year when his wife had a baby, Kirsten has been ever-present since taking the job in June 2011.

Regardless of the outcome of the final Twenty20 this will go down as a hugely successful tour for Kirsten after South Africa secured the Test series 2-0 to go to No. 1 in the world. A more inexperienced team then fought back to level the one-day contests at 2-2, although that meant losing the top ranking they had gained earlier in the series. If it had not rained in Manchester on Monday, they were favourites to take theTwenty20 series there.

Kirsten is not the only coach who has taken time away from his team recently. England have used a similar approach with Andy Flower, with him missing the final one-day international against Trent Bridge - a match where England were heavily beaten. Last year he also sat out the ODI against Ireland, in Dublin, and on both occasions Richard Halsall, the fielding coach, took charge.

There is also a strong likelihood that Flower will be given another, more extended break, from his role at some point over the next six months, part of an acknowledgement that it is not only the players that need their workloads managed.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by bumsonseats on (September 12, 2012, 21:44 GMT)

nutcutlet DF is not the hands on manager that he was for england or kirsten/flowers are in their current teams. its perceived that the indian team is run by the players not the manager. perhaps when the team has more rookie players DF will come into his own.

Posted by bored_iam on (September 12, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

@Nutcutlet: Duncan Fletcher is NOT a good coach and is a poor team manager, at best. Is it a coincidence that Indis's problems abroad have resurfaced since the departure of Gary Kirsten. True, the players are to blame. But were he a better man-manager, the mental factor would have been a tad different. His role at England is hugely overrated and the fact of the matter is that England owe ALL their recent success to Flower, irrespective of the eulogies for Fletcher and Hussain.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 12, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

When a side has a team manager/coach that is valued, it's vital that he is given meaningful breaks during his tenure. Kirsten is absolutely right to take this time out, & Flower is in considerable need of his holiday, esp. after the battery of problems & headaches thrown up by an emigrant enfant terrible. Would the BCCI let Duncan Fletcher out of a T20 tournament, or is such a series regarded of so much importance there that he dare not ask for time off for the duration of one? Top coaches don't go on for ever and their workload is massive; they need to be handled sensitively by their masters to remain at their optimum effectiveness. And they (the managers/coaches) know that when push comes to shove, that their absolute priority is Test cricket, not the endless and mostly meaningless ODIs & T20 series that may, in some cases, so engage their cricket boards.

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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