Enoch Nkwe, the former Gauteng batsman and title-winning Highveld Lions and Jozi Stars head coach, has been named as South Africa's interim team director for the tour of India in September, which comprises three T20Is and three Tests.
"It is a tremendous honour and privilege to lead the Proteas as the interim team director," Nkwe said of his appointment. "It is a special moment for me and my family and I will do my best to make a difference in this interim period. I am extremely excited about the challenge that lies ahead and am looking forward to meeting all players and staff.
"Thanks also to Cricket South Africa for giving me this opportunity and hopefully we will return from India with positive results."
Under CSA's recent restructuring programme, the roles of head coach and team manager have been merged to create the team director's post. CSA introduced the changes - including a decision against giving Ottis Gibson and the support staff contract extensions - as part of sweeping changes to the way the senior men's team would be run after the 2019 World Cup.
Nkwe will now pick the coaching staff that will work alongside him on the tour, which officially begins on September 15. As part of the new directive, the assistant coaches, medical staff, and other technical staff will all report directly to the team director, who in turn will report to the director of cricket - Corrie van Zyl fills that spot currently in an acting capacity - working under the chief executive, Thabang Moroe.
"His appointment is as a result of his merits and balanced approach and is someone who compliments the direction that will be taken by the team going forward," van Zyl said. "As team director, one of his roles is head coach, but he also has certain roles in terms of player management, team environment, culture of the team.
"He's the driver, and the person ultimately responsible for the team and its performance."
Nkwe, 36, moves into his new role with an impressive track record as a coach at multiple levels. He holds a Level 4 coaching certificate, and in the decade since his playing career was cut short by a hand injury, has accumulated a wealth of experience.
He won titles as coach of both the Gauteng Under-19 and Gauteng Strikers teams, and also spent time as Gauteng high-performance coach. He has worked overseas, as both a high-performance and assistant national coach for Netherlands, as well as assistant coach of Vancouver Knights in Canada's Global T20 League. Back in South Africa, he was also assistant coach of the South African national women's side.
He was named franchise Coach of the Season at last weekend's CSA Awards ceremony, having picked up three titles last season. Nkwe guided Jozi Stars to victory in the inaugural Mzansi Super League in 2018, and was at the helm as Highveld Lions triumphed in both the CSA 4-Day Series and T20 Challenge last season.
Nkwe played 42 first-class matches in a seven-year career as a professional cricketer, scoring 1768 runs and taking 29 wickets, before moving into coaching. He also featured in 38 List A matches and nine T20s.
While Nkwe will have a say in who his coaching staff are, van Zyl explained that some members of the previous technical team have also been retained.
"We are well advanced in terms of the coaching staff," van Zyl said. "There are certain members of the technical support staff that have been retained. We've agreed that with them, and have had one-on-one interviews over the last few days. A big number of the staff is already there. We're working on the coaching staff that will be doing the India tour on a temporary basis, but we are well advanced."
As acting director of cricket, van Zyl will work with Nkwe, as well as the national captain, to select teams. The role of selection convener, previously filled by Linda Zondi, is currently vacant. "In the interim, what will happen is the current acting director of dricket will act as convenor of selectors," Moroe had explained earlier this week. "He will work with the team director, together with the captain in selecting the squad and the final XI that will be playing on a particular day. That's in the interim, until the director of cricket fills those roles."