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SA want to hang on to Ackerman

United Cricket Board managing director Ali Bacher will contact Hylton Ackerman in the Caribbean on Monday in an attempt to persuade the former Boland coach not to take up an offer to take charge of the Zimbabwean national team.

Bacher confirmed that Ackerman had been approached by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, but said that South Africa were reluctant to lose a coach of Ackerman's quality.

"It's all been above board," said Bacher. "Zimbabwe informed us of their intentions, but we'd like to keep Hylton in the fold."

Since leaving Boland last summer, the 53-year-old Ackerman has only had permanent employment for five to six months of the year as head coach at the Plascon Academy. He is presently with the South African A team in the West Indies and was recently appointed a national selector, but the prospect of full-time employment together with the opportunity to coach an international team would clearly be attractive.

Regarded as one of the best talent-spotters in the game, Ackerman also possesses the priceless natural gift of being able to simplify a game that is sometimes over-complicated by coaches dependent on technology.

As a wonderful left-handed batsman, Ackerman might have received wider recognition for his talents had his career not run parallel with that of Graeme Pollock, one of the game's great left-handers.

Zimbabwe have been without a full-time national coach since Andy Pycroft took over from Dave Houghton on a part-time basis.