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Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith in the running to become South Africa’s first director of cricket

South Africa news

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith is in the running to become the country’s first director of cricket, a post for which he has been interviewed by the Cricket South Africa board, according to a report on ESPNcricinfo. The interviews were conducted by a five-member board panel, which included the CSA chief executive officer Thabang Moroe.

The new position, which was created following the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, will see Smith competing with Corrie van Zyl, who was originally appointed to the position, albeit in an interim capacity, before being suspended, and former national selector Hussein Manack.

Along with the world of experience of having played the sport at the international level, Smith also brings some corporate experience, having served in the corporate social responsibility team of the financial services firm Momentum, who are also the sponsors of the domestic one-day competition.

Graeme Smith was one of South Africa's most successful captains
Graeme Smith was one of South Africa's most successful captains

Van Zyl and Manack present strong candidacy credentials themselves. While the former has been Cricket South Africa general manager since 2009 and was even their head coach during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2011, Hussein was national selector from 2012 until the conclusion of this year’s edition of the flagship 50-over tournament. Van Zyl was also head coach of Free State.

Both men also bring unique qualifications to the table, with van Zyl holding a Certificate in Sports Management from the University of London, Manack has a Level 3 coaching certificate, a UK National Cricket Association coaching qualification, and a Manager’s Programme in Business Administration and Sport and Event Management from the University of Witwatersrand. He’s also served as the managing director of a manufacturing and retail company for over a decade.

Corrie van Zyl has been Cricket South Africa general manager since 2009
Corrie van Zyl has been Cricket South Africa general manager since 2009

Both van Zyl and Manack also have significant experience of playing the game at the first-class level. Van Zyl played 104 first-class matches, in which he made 2313 runs , including a century, alongside 349 wickets. In List A cricket, his 118-game career yielded 887 runs and 127 wickets. Manack doesn’t have as much experience in the List A format, but in a 52-game first-class career made 2140 runs at an average of 27.79.

The director of cricket will oversee all cricket played under the CSA umbrella, including the national team, age-group teams, domestic cricket, and the high performance structure. As per the board’s requirement, a successful candidate ought to have a qualification in sports management and a minimum of 10 years of experience in either sports or media management, coaching, or playing at least at the first-class level.

CSA is expected to fill out the vacancy within the next two weeks, as they aim to settle down on the position before the Boxing Day Test against the visiting England. They are also on the lookout for a director for the men’s team and a new convener of selectors, after Linda Zondi had a falling out with the board.

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