THE Proteas new man in town Ottis Gibson has been charged with bringing the elusive ICC World Cup to South Africa in 2019.
South Africa has not won any international titles since the Champions Trophy in 1998 and many are asking what Gibson will change from what others failed in the past. There is no doubt South Africa are blessed with talented cricketers and go to any ICC tournaments as favourites to win only to choke in those competitions.
Gibson, the former West Indies pace bowler has two years to change that and with the talent he has seen in the Proteas, he said that he will need to do something special with the players in order to win the World Cup in two years time.
“When you look at the talent the team has plus the talent around the country obviously, the big thing from Cricket South Africa is there is a lot of focus on 2019 World Cup and there is a lot of time between now and then to do something special with this great group of players,” Gibson said.
But why did he consider coaching the Proteas after being with the England national team as the bowling coach? The 48 year old said that after he was told that the Proteas coaching job would be his, he didn’t think twice as he felt that with the team they have, they can definitely do something big during the upcoming World Cup.
“To think that you will come to South Africa and work with Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander and all these high-quality players. “It gives you a great sort of sense of purpose to take these guys to where they want to go in cricket. That was a key part of trying to get myself involved in the Proteas,” Gibson said.
“Even when you are 10 years into your career do you still have the same passion you had when you started? “So from a coaching perspective, I’m still as passionate about the game as I was playing. “Sometimes I wish I was still playing but I can’t play so, therefore, now all my passion goes into coaching and making players better players and people better people and making the team a better team.
That’s how I see it.” While the bigger picture is, of course, the World Cup, CSA is very much into transformation and there were concerns over how Gibson would react to that. But he says that whether or not he agrees with transformation, it does not matter and that was made clear to him in his discussions with CSA during his appointment.
“Transformation, I’m still learning about. I’m not going to say that I’m well up to speed with it. But I understand it and I respect it for what it is and what it means to the country,” Gibson said. “Like I said to CSA, what I will do at every opportunity is to make sure that whatever decisions I make with transformation in mind. So I have to because it has been going on before I got here and I have to learn to work with it and that’s what I will do.”
Having been a bowling coach in England twice before his appointment as the Proteas head coach, Gibson said that he would assess bowling coach Charl Langeveldt during the Test series against Bangladesh before making a decision whether to keep him on the team or not.
“Langeveldt has done really well with the team so far maybe us working together about what he knows about the players and I will need to lean on him a little bit to find out more about the players. “I will also bring my experiences working as a bowling coach with England and also as a head coach of West Indies. “With the West Indies, I took responsibilities for the bowling myself and that’s something which I will again have the opportunity to choose who I want to go forward as the support staff after the Bangladesh series.
“It gives me the opportunity to assess Charl as well and see what is the best way forward for the team.” Gibson, who started his tenure as Proteas coach with a win against Bangladesh in the first Test in Potchefstroom has asked for patience from the South African public as he continues to try build a team that will bring success in two years time. “Two things, patience and support, the team need the support, we need the support and I need the support.
“As a new coach coming in the setup, I need the support as well but the team needs the public support and everything we need to do is to try to win each and every game but we know that is not possible. “But we will always give 100% in everything I’m involved with. That’s the one thing we will be doing, giving 100% on the field to try to win and bring success to the country. “That’s the ultimate goal and hopefully over the next two years with the group of players we have and the strong mentality we will be able to do that.
“But we need the public’s backing and their support and we still want them to retain their passion for the game as well so we can continue to play with passion on the field.”