Cricket

World Cup-winning experience gave Gibson the edge, says Simons

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CMC) — Ottis Gibson prevailed over other candidates for the South Africa head coaching job due to his 2016 World Twenty20 victory with West Indies.

Eric Simons, a former South Africa head coach, was a member of the panel that selected Gibson ahead of a number of other well-qualified candidates for the job of national team coach.

He said a coach with experience of winning a global tournament, something which South Africa has failed to do in any of the shorter formats of the game since their readmission into the sport, was a key factor in choosing the former West Indies head coach and England bowling coach.

“It was not just a case of picking the person, you also have to marry what's needed,” Simons told the ESPNCricinfo website.

“We are not far away from an ICC tournament, although it may feel far away. Ottis has been there, he has won a tournament, and he has been part of a professional set-up, so he emerged as the right person.”

Simons added: “We wanted someone with international experience, someone that is going to bring fresh ideas and look at things from a different perspective. You've seen teams that have done that. Mickey Arthur has worked well in Pakistan, Gary Kirsten did it in India, an outsider.

“Sometimes being able to look at it from a different perspective is refreshing. We have had a really mature and clear-thinking captain in Faf du Plessis, and I think what Ottis is going to bring to Faf is going to be very good.”

Gibson, who spent a portion of his playing career in South Africa, was reportedly not one of the initial applicants for the job, but he was head-hunted after Cricket South Africa were unimpressed by the other candidates.

“He is going to bring a fresh outlook,” said Simons. “He has got a lot of experience now. He has coached at a number of levels. He has coached West Indies, where he ended up losing his job, and I think in that process as a coach you end up learning a lot.

“Ottis is a very detailed coach. We asked a lot of questions about him — what is he like, what is his style, and we obviously need to marry the relationship not only with him and the team, but especially with the captain. I think they are going to fit well together from that perspective. Ottis is a good thinker, a good planner of the game, and I think that's what Faf likes. He likes that information.

“Ottis has walked a very good path as a coach. In speaking to him and the players around him, he was very honest about what he has learnt and what he has become. That was a part of it and the other part is that we think he is going to be very good for Faf.”

Gibson is scheduled to arrive on Monday. It will give him 10 days to prepare for his first assignment against Bangladesh.

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