It’s not just cricket players who represent South Africa at the IPL. We take a look at the South Africans who operate as support staff behind the scenes at the T20 spectacle.
1. Former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten is the Delhi Daredevils’ head coach, employed on a three-year contract. The franchise finished stone last in 2014, but Kirsten’s appointment of JP Duminy as captain might bring a change in fortune. Delhi, in fact, sport a relative proliferation of Proteas cricketers in Imran Tahir, Albie Morkel and Quinton de Kock – thanks largely to the influence of Kirsten.
2. Kirsten is accompanied by Titans head coach Rob Walter, who is also Delhi’s strength and conditioning coach. This is Walters’ second stint with the Daredevils, who employed him from 2010 to 2012. ‘I try to make an impact on each player’s career. I target what each players needs to become the best they can be – and then help them reach their potential. Skills development too, is massively important,’ Walters philosophised earlier this year.
3. Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis‘ fifth season with the Kolkata Knight Riders will be spent as a mentor and batting consultant. ‘KKR has been my Indian family. I have built fantastic relationships with the management and players. Over the past year, I have had a chance to think about my future and when Kolkata approached me with this long-term offer, I jumped at it. KKR is a great brand and am really looking forward to assisting them in my new role,’ enthused Kallis recently.
4. Arguably the least known of the seven, Kolkata physical trainer Adrian le Roux is listed as a ‘hard disciplinarian’ by the Knight Riders’ official website. He’ll work closely with Morne Morkel in particular – and is renowned for introducing innovative and highly-effective fitness training modules. He has been contracted by the IPL franchise since its inception almost nine years ago. Before that, he was employed by Cricket South Africa.
5. Proteas fitness and conditioning coach Greg King performs a similar role for the Chennai Super Kings, where the physical well-being of fellow South Africans Faf du Plessis and Kyle Abbott is among his priorities. King gained international notoriety when he succeeded Le Roux as India’s trainer in August 2003. Prior to this coveted appointment, he was the Border Cricket Board’s sports scientist, fielding coach and rehabilitation specialist for six years.
6. Fielding coach Jonty Rhodes is part of the proverbial furniture at the Mumbai Indians, where he has successfully motivated gangly fast bowlers like Marchant de Lange and Mitchell McClenaghan to better themselves in the field for several seasons. ‘In this day and age, the players cannot hide in the field and so you need all your players to be good fielders. The expectation of the captain becomes high and hence a fielding coach’s job becomes more challenging,’ insists Rhodes, regularly.
7. No longer working in the shadow of Kirsten, head coach Paddy Upton is eager to help the Rajasthan Royals replicate their title-winning campaign in 2008’s inaugural IPL. Performance director of the Proteas for about two years, high performance coach for the Pune Warriors for six months and head coach of the Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash League are among his other impressive career achievements.