• Atherton: Kirsten’s nationality immaterial

    Former captain Michael Atherton has suggested England must not deterred by former Proteas coach Gary Kirsten’s nationality when recruiting a successor for the outgoing Trevor Bayliss.

    Australian Bayliss’ tenure as head coach ended with a 2-2 Ashes series draw earlier this year. England have also had Zimbabweans Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower as head coaches.

    ‘It’s dangerous to fall into the trap of thinking a foreign accent makes you a better candidate, but no English coach has such an impressive CV as Kirsten’s,’ Atherton wrote in a column for The Times.

    ‘Nationality is immaterial; skills as communicators, man-managers and expertise in technique are all-important. Coaches are facilitators, teachers and enablers, trying to help to improve the lives and careers of players.’

    The 51-year-old Kirsten coached the Proteas, won the 2011 World Cup with India and has worked with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League as well as the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash League.

    He will coach the Western Fire in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s The Hundred next year. He has also agreed to coach the Durban Heat in South Africa’s Mzansi Super League this year.

    ‘Kirsten would make a fine choice. There are those who will frown upon another overseas appointment. I’m not of that number,’ added Atherton.

    ‘The one-day team is in good shape and runs itself under Eoin Morgan, while the test team are in need of some tender loving care.

    ‘The captain, Joe Root, is in need of a coach to apply greater structure than the free-wheeling Bayliss was apt to do. South Africans love a bit of structure.’

    Photo: Getty Images

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