Barnes to join South Africa's High Performance Centre
Vincent Barnes, the former South Africa assistant coach, will join South Africa's High Performance Centre (HPC) after having turned down an offer to coach Bangladesh. Barnes' responsibilities will include coaching the South Africa A side, the emerging players squad and the new semi-professional franchise that will compete in the Pro20 competition from the 2011-12 season. He will also be one of the national selectors.
"I want to re-establish myself as a coach," Barnes told ESPNCricinfo. "It's an attractive position that covers a vast area and I think it will be really good to get me back into coaching teams."
Barnes was last head coach of a team in 2003, when he was in charge of the South Africa A side on their tour of Australia. Since then, he has been part of the national set-up, first as bowling coach and then assistant coach. In his eight years, he worked under four head coaches, Eric Simons, Ray Jennings, Mickey Arthur and Corrie van Zyl, who is now also involved at the HPC.
Barnes was widely credited with being behind the success of players such as Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn but was not retained when Gary Kirsten was appointed head coach last week. Former fast bowler Allan Donald has been made bowling coach with Warriors coach Russell Domingo filling the assistant role. Bangladesh offered Barnes the position of head coach, which he declined before South Africa's new appointments were made but he was asked to reconsider his decision when it emerged that he would not be involved with the national team.
"I thought hard about it and discussed it with my wife, who runs her own business, and I have decided to stay in South Africa," Barnes said. "Coaching the semi-professional franchise was an important part in that decision, because we will be playing for a Champions League spot." The new franchise will be allowed to contract four foreign players and will also play first-class and 45-over matches against the 13 provinces in preparation for the Pro20 competition.
While that competition is "the cherry on top" for Barnes, he is also looking forward to the role he will play in developing promising players. Barnes' first task will be to accompany the A side for a tri-series in Zimbabwe later this month. The squad includes Jacques Rudolph, Vernon Philander and Ryan McLaren, who are all on the fringes of the national side.
Barnes has worked with most of the players in that squad before and would like to help make the step up from franchise to international cricket. "I want to create an environment for players to perform, to enjoy expressing themselves in and not to feel being stifled" he said.
Barnes has enjoyed great success with the A side in the past. Seven of the members of the squad that he took to Australia in 2003 were part of the national side that toured England that same year. He hopes to repeat those feats and provide a steady stream of players who are ready for call-ups to the national side. "Players must feel as though they are genuinely being looked at. You don't just want to fill a team with names, you have to look at where you are taking those players."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent