South Africa cricket November 17, 2008

Fletcher joins South Africa to help tour planning

Cricinfo staff

Back on duty: Duncan Fletcher will help South Africa's quest to win in Australia © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher, the former England coach, has been drafted in as part of South Africa's set-up as they step up their preparations for the tour of Australia next month.

He will spend three days with the squad before each of the two Tests against Bangladesh and then travel with the team to Perth for 12 days ahead of the opening match against Australia. South Africa hope to tap up his experience of beating Australia in the 2005 Ashes.

"He will add a great deal of value to our plans and preparations, particularly with his experience of having been a successful coach against Australia," coach Mickey Arthur told the Sapa agency. "I am a great believer in refreshing the squad whether it be on the playing or management side and he will help us find another five percent to take us up to the next level."

The arrangement will be repeated next year when South Africa take part in the Champions Trophy before hosting England for a full tour. It will be the first coaching stint Fletcher has undertaken since he left the England job after the 2007 World Cup.

Last week he agreed to take up a consultancy position with Hampshire for the 2009 season, a situation that has not changed in light of this announcement. "It makes no difference,"Hampshire's chairman, Rod Bransgrove, told the BBC. "We were aware of his discussions."

Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, said: "Cricket South Africa is determined to ensure that South Africa are properly prepared for the Test series against Bangladesh and the forthcoming tour to Australia.

"This move was mooted by the team management and says much for their maturity and eagerness to use the best preparation methods available.

"Duncan Fletcher is well-respected by South Africa and his knowledge of Australian cricket will be of inestimable value," he added. "CSA is grateful that he has accepted this offer to assist and we look forward to his input."

Fletcher, who lives in Cape Town and captained Zimbabwe at the 1983 World Cup, is well known to several of the current South Africa squad, in particular Jacques Kallis, whom he mentored during his time as coach of Western Province in the early 1990s. Kallis sought Fletcher's advice after enduring a lean run of form in England this summer.