• Kirsten appreciates ‘father figure’ Smith

    Former Proteas coach and teammate Gary Kirsten is ‘very excited’ about the full-time appointment of CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith.

    Smith accepted the post in an interim capacity late last year and, in April, he accepted the role on a permanent basis.

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    ‘I’m very excited that Graeme is back in South African cricket. A guy like him finds a way; they just know what they need to do to get the best out of different environments and the best out of people,’ Kirsten told a Wits Sports leadership webinar this week.

    Kirsten and Smith’s international careers overlapped for three years from 2002 to 2004. Kirsten was later Proteas coach while Smith was captain.

    ‘Graeme took over the reins as South African captain as a 22-year-old. I was kind of a Test veteran by then, but right from the outset I could see that this guy is going to become a great leader. He just had the credentials,’ added Kirsten.

    ‘A guy like Graeme has the underlying leadership quality of being able to front up to pressure. He never shies away from that. He’s become a great leader by example. Guys like him don’t mind putting themselves in the toughest of situations.

    ‘From my experience, Graeme is a great presence and orator. He’s almost like a father figure to a lot of people.’

    Kirsten coached the Durban Heat in the 2019 Mzansi Super League. He was meant to be the head coach of the Welsh Fire in The Hundred – the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new limited-overs tournament – this year. The inaugural edition of The Hundred, though, has been postponed.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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