Proteas coach Ottis Gibson believes that he can take the team to No 1 on the Test rankings.
The new Proteas head coach was presented to the media on Tuesday, ahead of the Bangladesh Test series which kicks off on 28 September, and the ex-Windies coach was extremely clear about his goals for the side.
He stressed the aim of taking South Africa back to No 1.
‘For me, it’s an honour to be here and especially to refer myself as a Proteas coach. I’m looking forward to working with the players,’ Gibson told the media.
‘When I walked in, I must admit my heart rate went up a bit, so I’m hoping you will go easy on me for now. I’ve got to pay a lot of respect to Russell Domingo, for where he took the team, and to his technical team.
‘In the six years I’ve played cricket in South Africa, I’ve seen that this place [South Africa] is sports mad. I’m invested in this place now.
‘When we win, I’m gonna celebrates and when we lose, I’m gonna be very grumpy, I’m not gonna lie.
‘Part of the philosophy is to take people and players where they have never been before. I’m sure it might evolve again here. I’m a fun-loving guy, I love golf, red wine, I have a wife and one child… anything else? I’m just very excited to be here.’
The Proteas climbed the Test rankings under Domingo – from seventh to second with wins over Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. However, Gibson believes that the Proteas can overtake India and become the No 1-ranked side once again.
‘Cricket is not like football, where the coach gets fired and the new guy brings in his own team,’ Gibson continued.
‘We’ve got people in the team who know what it takes to get this team to No 1. If the senior players are still invested in getting to the top again then I think we’re in a good place.
‘The guys that were here before me were the guys who helped take the team to No 1, so they’re capable. The intention over the next few weeks is to meet all the head coaches at the franchises and get a feel for the best players.’
Transformation is a stirring topic among South Africans, but Gibson has firmly stood his ground regarding his thoughts on the system.
His comments on the matter have raised speculation at the possibility of Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana or Malinbongwe Maketa, of the Warriors, taking an assistant role.
‘I am very much aware of transformation and when picking the support staff that will be considered. I’ve been given liberty by CSA to pick the people I deem good enough.’
Gibson is certain that Bangladesh is a good Test to get his career off and running, but has warned the players of complacency.
‘We shouldn’t think that the Bangladesh series is an easy one. They’re going be tough and we must be ready for that. We haven’t played a lot of cricket. We need to make sure we’re up to speed with the Bangladesh series.’
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