Gib­son not quite a done deal – yet

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XABANISA sports@city­press.co.za

Proteas cap­tain Faf du Plessis may have jumped the gun in an­nounc­ing Eng­land bowl­ing coach Ottis Gib­son as coach Rus­sell Domingo’s suc­ces­sor this week.

Upon re­turn­ing to South Africa on Thurs­day, Du Plessis spoke as if Gib­son’s ap­point­ment was a fait ac­com­pli, with me­dia re­ports quot­ing him as ask­ing English play­ers what kind of coach the West In­dian is.

To be sure, the former West Indies, Bor­der, Gaut­eng Li­ons and Gri­qua­land West bowl­ing all­rounder is Cricket SA’s (CSA’s) pre­ferred can­di­date, but an of­fi­cial close to the search for Domingo’s re­place­ment says a lot has to hap­pen be­fore he is Proteas coach.

“The panel has al­ready made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the board and they have tasked the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer [Ha­roon Lor­gat] with fol­low­ing up with the con­tract­ing,” said the of­fi­cial.

“The board is now wait­ing for Lor­gat to tell them if the deal can hap­pen or not.”

Talk from Eng­land is that CSA might have to com­pen­sate the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board for the re­main­der of Gib­son’s con­tract, which ends at the end of next year.

Ac­cord­ing to our source, while CSA is pre­pared for that even­tu­al­ity, the amount could prove a hin­drance. Asked how Gib­son had over­taken Domingo, Highveld Li­ons coach Ge­of­frey Toy­ana, former West Indies bats­man Phil Sim­mons, former Proteas all-rounder Lance Klusener, former Bor­der, Ti­tans and Pak­istan coach Richard Py­bus, former Ti­tans coach Rob Wal­ter and former Proteas coach­ing staffer Paddy Up­ton, the of­fi­cial said: “He was a late ap­pli­ca­tion and the panel [which is made up of former Proteas coaches Gary Kirsten and Eric Si­mons, in­de­pen­dent board mem­ber Nor­man Arendse, HR spe­cial­ist Oupa Nk­agiseng and board mem­ber Ri­han Richards] asked the board to al­low it.”

Ap­par­ently, the panel was not en­tirely sat­is­fied with the can­di­dates and had de­cided to widen the net.

And while there wasn’t ob­vi­ous suc­cess from his stint as West Indies head coach from 2010 to 2014, it is un­der­stood that Sim­mons’ early suc­cesses as Windies coach were based on Gib­son’s struc­tures.

Look­ing ahead to when an an­nounce­ment might be made, the of­fi­cial said: “It should be any day now ... there has to be an agreed name by the end of Au­gust.”

With Toy­ana hav­ing been writ­ten up as favourite to be the country’s first black African coach when the process be­gan, the of­fi­cial said the feel­ing from the panel was that he was not ready and could ben­e­fit from a stint as as­sis­tant coach at in­ter­na­tional level.

“But CSA would have to come to an agree­ment with the coach to take him on as his as­sis­tant.”

Gib­son has been op­er­at­ing in the rel­a­tive shad­ows of bowl­ing coach for so long, it’s al­most pru­dent to re­mind peo­ple of his achieve­ments as a player. The 48-year-old, a great ex­po­nent of bowl­ing with the older ball and a hard-hit­ting lower or­der bats­man, only played two tests and 15 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als for the West Indies, and spent his sum­mers play­ing county cricket or do­mes­tic cricket in South Africa.

His great­est claim to fame as a bowler is that he took all 10 Hamp­shire wick­ets while play­ing for Durham in 2007.

PHOTO: GARETH CO­P­LEY

PRE­FERRED CAN­DI­DATE Ottis Gib­son has been tipped as the Proteas coach

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