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September 11, 2012
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 ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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