Franchise coaches taste national set-up
While the South African players did their warm-ups on the first morning of the Wanderers Test against Pakistan, someone not usually involved at national level was keeping an eye on them. The Titans' coach Matthew Maynard observed proceedings as part of a new program which aims to involve franchise officials in the national team.
All six local coaches will be invited to spend time with the national team during the series against Pakistan as part of an information sharing exercise. During their time the coaches will attend training sessions, go to team meetings and in Maynard's case, stay around for some of the first day's play.
With three of South Africa's franchise coaches - Paul Adams of the Cobras, Geoffrey Toyana of the Lions and Lance Klusener of the Dolphins - in their first season in the job, the national management is also hopeful that involving the domestic coaches will make the transition from franchise to international cricket smooth for players.
"We wanted to give our franchise coaches the opportunity to experience how things work at international level," Gary Kirsten said. "This is about creating synergy between the international and domestic platforms, and making sure information sharing happens continuously so that the move from domestic cricket for the players is as smooth as possible.
"It's also an opportunity for the coaches to see how things operate at this level. The coaching landscape is always changing and moving and it is important from our point of view to touch base with the next tier and to share information and ideas."
Maynard is not a stranger to the international coaching scene. He was the England assistant under Duncan Fletcher but has not been with a national team since 2007. He said he valued the time given to him by Kirsten and has learnt things to take back to the Titans.
"It was a great experience for me to see the environment that Gary and Graeme have created around the team. It makes it unsurprising that they have been so successful over a good period of time. I picked up a good number of things in the way they prepare and how the environment operates.
"It was great to see the intensity from the senior players during their practice sessions. Some of the drills are nice and simple, they aren't complicated but they are expected to be done with great precision and that is the attention to detail Gary brings to the set-up."
Kirsten's desire to expand the coaching set-up was also evident when he handed over reins of the Twenty20 squad to his assistant Russell Domingo. Although Kirsten remains in charge of the team and takes calls on selections, Domingo is the head coach in the shortest format.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent