Former Dolphins and KwaZulu-Natal left-hand bat (and SA U19 captain), Rivash Gobind, is the head coach for the Warriors franchise side and assistant coach of the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.
WORDS: Khalid Mohidin
You took over at the Warriors for the current season. How has your season gone so far?
Results-wise it hasn’t been ideal. We have played some decent cricket in patches and we put ourselves in positions to win games, but for multiple reasons they haven’t panned out. We are still searching for consistency in our batting, which I think if we can find, especially in four-day cricket, it’s going to put us in better positions more often. I’m really excited about the bowling strength, as we have some good youngsters and great experience around that.
What has been the biggest challenge as a young manager of such an experienced side?
I find it’s a massive positive as a younger coach. They do view the world differently, and the way you approach coaching them is very different to the way I was coached or guys of my age were coached. We were instructed quite a bit, it was very disciplined, the coach was the man in charge and whatever he said we had to do. In today’s society with the modern cricketer it’s more give-and-take and there’s more collaboration. What do you feel like doing? What’s your plan? Do you buy into it? That kind of approach.
Jon-Jon Smuts spoke about his disappointment with the number of Warriors players in the national setup.
I think CSA has a fantastic high-performance programme and the way they identify players and get them through the system is excellent. My message to my players is to not wallow in the ‘why me’ mentality. It’s professional sport, so if you put in performances day in and day out, then no-one can ignore you. If it’s just an average performance or above average and you are the best at the Warriors, that’s fine … but I want our guys to be among the best in the country. Once you do that you put yourself in a different bracket.
What are the positives regarding having a minimum number of Proteas players in your setup?
It is always nice to have Proteas players in your setup because they are at the cutting edge of international cricket. When I was involved in Durban those Proteas guys coming back into the franchise system always brought new information, ideas and a different way of thinking. We are very lucky at the Warriors to have, in terms of domestic cricket, guys who have a lot of experience and have done it over a long period of time.
What’s nice about our system is that those guys are used to performing under pressure. We have a pretty small squad, so we rely on a small group of guys and we are trying to get that base improved with the youngsters by getting up to that level. For guys like Christiaan Jonker, Andrew Birch, Sisanda Magala and now Gihahn Cloete as well, they know they need to perform week in week out for us to be successful, and that’s the [cream] on the top and is something our senior guys can be very proud of.
What are your aspirations for this season?
It’s an old cliche, but sport is about what happens on the day. I always say that franchise cricket is quite evenly matched and on any given day the results can go either way. We just want to focus on what we need to do and execute it at the best of our ability. We have certain skills, a certain way of playing and a certain way of gelling together that helps us and we want to focus on that. If we can do that, it leads back to the consistency I was talking about. With this group of players, when the stakes are high and there’s something on the line, they step up even more – they don’t shy away from the big moments.
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