Lance Klusener and the Afghanistan Cricket Board have mutually agreed to part ways, and not extend the former South Africa allrounder's contract as head coach of the national men's team. Klusener, who was appointed in the role in September 2019, has a contract that runs till December 31 this year, and will step away from his position after that.
"Having spent two years with the team, I will take away some memorable moments with me," Klusener said in a press statement on Monday. "As I walk away from Afghanistan cricket team and its cricketing structure, I look forward to the next stage in my coaching career and opportunities it brings."
Thanking Klusener for his contributions to Afghanistan cricket, the ACB confirmed in a statement that the hunt for the next head coach had started: "The ACB has launched the recruitment process for hiring a new head coach and is looking forward to have the services of another reasonable option to replace Lance Klusener as the head coach of Afghanistan for the upcoming events."
While they hardly played any cricket in 2020 due to Covid-19, Afghanistan performed fairly well under Klusener, winning one out of the three Tests, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is. During his first series as the coach, Afghanistan beat West Indies 2-1 in the T20I series in India. They also beat Ireland 3-0 in the ODIs and 2-1 in the T20I series earlier this year. In the recently-concluded T20 World Cup, they crashed out of the group stage after winning just two out of the five matches. He had resorted to online coaching when Covid-19 had struck last year.
Klusener had taken over from Andy Moles, who was serving as the team's interim head coach after the exit of Phil Simmons following the 2019 World Cup. Klusener's contract was then extended at the end of 2020.
Klusener played 49 Tests and 171 ODIs for South Africa from 1996 to 2004. Considered one of the best ODI allrounders of his time, he scored 1906 runs and took 80 wickets in Tests, as well as 3576 runs and 192 wickets in ODIs. He has served in various coaching roles following his retirement, working with international and domestic teams as well as IPL franchises.