Kirsten popular choice for SA coach job
Gary Kirsten, Vincent Barnes, Duncan Fletcher, John Buchanan and Richard Pybus are understood to be on the six-man shortlist for the South Africa coaching job. Tom Moody and Stephen Fleming are also rumoured to be in contention for the position.
Kirsten, who ended his tenure with India after winning the World Cup, is said to be the favourite, but has reportedly not submitted a formal application. Insiders have confirmed that he is on the shortlist and has been in contact with CSA chief-executive Gerald Majola. Kirsten had said he wanted to take some time off after his stint with India ended, which may be why he hasn't officially applied.
South Africa's next series is scheduled for October, against Australia, which would allow Kirsten a five-month break. Kirsten is understood to have shown interest in the position and CSA may have placed him on the shortlist to keep him in the running, despite the fact that he has not applied. Majola said in an interview in Colombo that CSA would not consider anyone who wasn't on the shortlist.
Although Kirsten is the popular choice, CSA are also considering other candidates, including the long-serving assistant coach Barnes. He has been in the national set up for the past eight years, since the 2003 tour to England, and had applied for the head coach's position when Mickey Arthur was appointed in May 2005. Barnes started off as the bowling coach and has been credited with being part of the reason behind the success of the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Barnes' obvious advantage is that he has worked with the national squad for a significant amount of time and has been a part of their recent successes, such as the series wins in England and Australia.
Fletcher has also been involved with the current crop of players, having joined as a batting consultant in the 2009-10 season. He previously coached England and was at the helm of their Ashes triumph in 2005. Buchanan also has much lauded international credentials to his name, having won three Ashes series and two World Cups with Australia. He is most recently known for his controversial coaching methods which involved a proposed captain-rotation policy at Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Pybus is the only one who is working in the South African domestic set up. He took Cobras to a double title this season, winning both the first-class SuperSport Series competition and the Pro20. Having previously been involved with Titans and the Border province, before the franchises were formed, Pybus has an intricate knowledge of local cricket and has seen many of his charges progress to national honours. He coached Mark Boucher, Makhaya Ntini, Steyn, both Morkel brothers and Paul Harris, among others. He is known for his diverse, out-of-the-box thinking and was also head coach of Pakistan during the 1999 World Cup.
All six candidates, whose names cannot be officially released for confidentiality reasons, will undergo a rigorous interview process by a six-man panel appointed by CSA to choose the new coach. The committee consists of Majola, Andy O'Connor, chairperson of the cricket committee, Boeta Dippenaar, cricket association representative, Andrew Hudson, convenor of selectors and Corrie van Zyl, outgoing coach. Johann Coetzee, a human development consultant and consulting psychologist, was added to the panel last week and.
Interviews will be held on May 16 and 17, and the panel will make its recommendations at a board meeting on May 28. CSA hope to appoint the new coach at the beginning of June.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent