Gibson not quite a done deal – yet
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.
PREFERRED CANDIDATE Ottis Gibson has been tipped as the Proteas coach