Boeta Dippenaar, the former South Africa opener, has said South Africa needs a coach who can "challenge them". Corrie van Zyl, the team's current coach, will step down after the 2011 World Cup and Dippenaar is one of the five members of the panel appointed to select a new national coach.
Dippenaar, who will represent the South African cricketer's association on the panel, and van Zyl will be joined by Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola, Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors and Andy O'Connor, cricket committee chairman, to choose the national coach. van Zyl will return to the High Performance Centre in Pretoria in April, where he was the coach prior to his appointment with the national team.
Applications for the position close on 7 January 2011, after which the panel will meet to form a short-list. "It's important that the panel finds common ground and that we know what we are looking for in order to appoint the best coach for this particular group of players. We want to appoint someone who can take them forward and help them grow," Dippenaar said.
Dippenaar, who played 38 Tests and 107 ODIs for South Africa, said it will be vital to find a coach whose character will blend well with that of the players. "We will have to look at the different personalities in the national team and find someone who can work with them."
The issue of personality clashes has been closely associated with the South Africa coaching job. Former coach Mickey Arthur was rumoured to have resigned because of differences with the administrators. He was also labelled a puppet of the senior players in Herschelle Gibbs' autobiography To the Point.
Dippenaar played under four national coaches, the last of them being Arthur, and said he could not provide an objective view of the Arthur regime because he didn't spend enough time under him. He was full of praise for current Dolphins coach Graham Ford, who coached South Africa from 1999 to 2002. "He was a great coach and unlucky because he had two bad series against Australia and then lost the job." South Africa won eight out of 11 series under Ford, but lost back-to-back series against Australia in the 2001-02 season, which cost him his job.
The other coach Dippenaar played under, whom he has kind words for, is India's current bowling consultant, Eric Simons, who took South Africa to the 2003 World Cup. "I think Eric was before his time. I don't think he had a mature team at the time, but now the team is more settled and more mature."
Simons is part of a three-man South African contingent that is currently charge of the Indian team. Gary Kirsten is the head coach while Paddy Upton is the mental conditioning coach of the team. Rumours are rife that Kirsten will be head-hunted for the South African job and Simons and Upton may be tempted to follow him. Dippenaar would not be drawn into whether Kirsten is being targeted by the panel, simply saying "everybody is in the running."