'You don't need experience to win first-class matches.'
Thabang Moroe sees no need for either the new Director of Cricket or the Proteas’ Team Director to be possessed of experience of playing the game at first-class level.
Cricket South Africa’s chief executive cited the success of Jose Mourinho in club football as an example of a high-profile manager/coach achieving success despite not having played at the highest level.
“I don’t see having experience of playing first-class cricket as that important given what we want to achieve,” said Moroe. “We are after the brains of an individual. We have had coaches with playing experience and none of them have won us the World Cup.”
While a valid point, one concerning aspect for SA cricket viewers, is that there is no knowledge whatsoever about playing the game at first-class level among CSA’s Board of Directors or for that matter with Moroe.
The acting Director of Cricket, Corrie van Zyl, does have that background. He played over 100 first-class matches in a playing career that spanned 12 years, the majority of which was during the sports isolation era.
At the tail end of his career he played two One-Day Internationals, and he also had a stint at English county club Glamorgan.
Van Zyl is in the interim not just the Director of Cricket, but also the acting chairman of selectors and will pick the SA T20 and Test squads for the tour to India.
He will be on tour with the Proteas, in an advisory and oversight role for the interim Team Director, as the Proteas take on this first foray with this new structure.
It is a marriage of the kind of formation found with teams in the NFL, and the major football clubs in Europe.
“You have world-class coaches who have won the World Cup as players, but when it comes to coaching professionally they’re nowhere to be found,” said Moroe.
“Then in football you get an individual like Jose Mourinho, who has achieved so much but is nowhere near having had professional playing experience.
“We are not after your playing stats we are after what you can put on the table in terms of strategy and executing that strategy and your managerial skills, which you don’t get as player playing first-class cricket.”
Coaches like Mike Hesson with New Zealand and Russell Domingo, who coached the Proteas for four years, have shown that an absence of first-class cricket does not impact on their ability to do their jobs from a technical or tactical perspective.