Nkwe to remain team director and gets support from former Protea
With Cricket SA generally swimming in chaos, his retention represents some sort of stability.
Enoch Nkwe (Interim team director for the Proteas) during the South African national cricket team arrival press conference at Southern Sun OR Tambo on October 25, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Interim team director Enoch Nkwe will remain in charge of the Proteas for the Test series against England starting next month, a Cricket South Africa spokesman said on Thursday.
“There is no way we will go into an important series against England without having our ducks in a row,” said Thamie Mthembu, CSA head of media and communications, in response to criticism about the failure to make key appointments that has led to uncertainty around preparations for the series.
Mthembu said former first-class cricketer Nkwe, 36, would remain in his interim director role, together with the support staff who oversaw a humiliating 3-0 Test series defeat in India last month.
“Enoch and all the other members of his team remain in place.”
Nkwe’s appointment, on the back of a successful debut season as a franchise coach, was a surprise in view of his lack of international experience, either as a player or a coach.
However, given the scope of the team director role, which includes management duties, he might not be out of place, according to Tshwane Spartans batsman Pite van Biljon.
The experienced Knights skipper is well qualified to make such a call given that he played under Nkwe for the Jozi Stars in 2018’s inaugural Mzansi Super League tournament.
“At the Stars, we had a lot of assistant coaches. You had a batting and a bowling and fielding coach. Enoch was more comfortable in a role as an overseer,” said Van Biljon on Thursday.
“He made sure the structures are in place. Your ‘coaching relationship’ was with the specialist coach. Enoch was the mastermind. He took a more holistic view.”
Former Proteas white-ball specialist Roelof van der Merwe, who played 13 ODIs and 13 T20Is before switching allegiance to the Netherlands, praised Nkwe’s knowledge.
The left-arm spinner worked with Nkwe in Amsterdam.
“He was assistant coach of the Netherlands for a couple of years and I thoroughly enjoyed him. I feel he has a lot of knowledge to transfer to others,” said Van der Merwe.
“He’s a consistent coach and a general nice guy.”
The key posts of director of cricket, team director and convener of selectors have not been filled, almost four months after the creation of the new positions was announced in August when former coach Ottis Gibson and his back-up staff were fired after a poor World Cup campaign.