Opinion: Gibson equips himself with right resources

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Jonhenry Wilson takes a look at the new backroom staff brought into the Protea set-up by Ottis Gibson. 

A new broom certainly swept clean across South Africa’s coaching staff recently, when Malibongwe Maketa, Dale Benkenstein and Justin Ontong joined as assistant coach, batting coach and fielding coach, respectively.

New head coach Ottis Gibson is quickly making an impact – and wasn’t content to retain the waning services of Neil McKenzie and Charl Langeveldt. Spin bowling coach Claude Henderson can count himself lucky to have been retained.

These are good changes, boding well for a Proteas camp focused on what is to come rather than what could have been. For the first time, in a long time, the coaching set-up is looking complementary – rather than contradictory – to the quality of players within the squad.

Ontong’s appointment is probably the most surprising. Technically, he’s still playing, though hasn’t yet cracked the nod for the Cape Cobras’ ongoing Ram Slam T20 Challenge campaign. His last five-first class matches, though, have brought a century and three half-tons, so he’s clearly still got some runs days left in him. The 37-year-old will have to make a call on his playing career soon.

Benkenstein’s imminent arrival had been documented for a while – and it’s the right move. He has been honing his skills in England for several years. Now is the right time to get him alongside Gibson and company. Many will know he should have played far more than the 23 ODIs he earned between 1998 and 2002.

Maketa surprisingly pipped Geoffrey Toyana to the post of Gibson’s direct understudy. Toyana will probably still get a gig soon enough, but for now Maketa is in the spotlight. He, like Russell Domingo, has also graduated after paying his dues at the Warriors. He, like Domingo was for Gary Kirsten, is arguably being primed to eventually take over from Gibson. That might be a rather early punt at a succession plan, but it’s never too early to think ahead in international cricket.

Maketa, for those of you who don’t know, comes from the same school as Makhaya Ntini – Dale College in King William’s, Eastern Cape. A hang of a quick bowler at age-group level, he scared many a schoolboy batsman. South African cricket can now be grateful that he ultimately followed a coaching path.

In closing, it is pleasing to see Lungi Ngidi back in the Titans attack and bowling so well. Free from injury and really banging it in, he is holding his own in an experienced franchise XI flush with international experience. It shouldn’t be long before we see him back in the South African XI, at least at T20I level.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.




Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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