Five-fer: Who will replace Kirsten?
Snoop Dogg, Sir Alex Ferguson and a few other left-field candidates are among Lindsay du Plessis' tongue-in-cheek suggestions to succeed Gary Kirsten.
The cricket fraternity was shocked on Friday by the news that South Africa head coach Gary Kirsten will not be renewing his CSA contract at the end of July, ostensibly to spend more time with his family.
Whether he takes a new job outside South Africa remains to be seen, but in the meantime, the Proteas need to find a new mentor. Obvious choices include limited-overs coach Russell Domingo, and fitness guru Paddy Upton, but we reckon some other names should be thrown into the ring…
<b>1. Sir Alex Ferguson</b><br>The timing of Fergie's retirement as Manchester United boss, after 26 years at the helm, strikes us as suspicious. Sure, he's won a record number of titles and is 71 years old, but come on, the man has years left in him! Sachin Tendulkar would be scandalised by such quitter-ish behaviour.
So it only makes sense that he is in the market for a move to Cape Town. Like Kirsten, who leaves the Proteas as the number one Test side in the world, Fergie knows when to exit at the top, and now a new challenge awaits: an ICC title in 2015.
Let's be honest, rainy Manchester to the (less rainy) Mother City seems a smart decision, given the number of retirees arriving at Cape Town international, airport forex in hand and property guides at the ready.
It has everything SAF will need: superb red wine, horses (both racing and polo), and enough golf courses to keep him and the cricketers occupied for weekends at a time, given they're all playing for the Cobras.
As for his actual mentorship, it will be far less strenuous than at Old Trafford. He doesn't have to stand on sidelines in a suit, he can chew as much gum as he likes without cameras trained on every jaw click, and the players don't require much handling.
<b>2. Snoop Dogg/Lion/?</b><br>You're shaking your head, but listen. The rapper, now going by Snoop Lion, is a certified American football coach and a massive sports fan, ranging from ice hockey to basketball to the NFL, so why not cricket too?
He'll certainly keep the players on their toes, relying on the specialist coaches to do the actual training, while he composes verses to inspire the troops. He'll also appeal to the younger players, given his propensity for tricked out team buses and blingy rewards.
In an LA Times article, his ability to inspire youth development at his son's school, crucial in South Africa, was described as such: "Parents and coaches describe rapper Snoop Dogg as a modern-day Pied Piper luring football players with his song "Drop It Like It's Hot" blasting from a school bus pimped out with enough bass, TV screens and gadgetry to persuade any kid to sell out the old for the new."
So while he may not have the nous for the Test arena, leaving that to veterans like Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, he'll fit right in for an ODI or T20 title charge, making sure the West Indies have no cause to Gangnam-style around anymore.
Also, in terms of press conferences, he'll be able to keep the media guessing by using nonsensical rap phrases ending in 'izzle', thus throwing them off the scent of any potential discord. His constant name changes would also ensure a permanent 'breath of fresh air' atmosphere.
<b>3. Pat Summitt</b><br>Like Sir Alex, Summitt is not one to hop from job to job. She is the most successful basketball coach in American College history, both men's and women's leagues, and in 38 seasons with the Tennessee Lady Vols she never suffered a losing season.
If anyone knows how to inspire a group of players, it's Summit. She is the only College basketball coach with more than 1000 wins, and received the Presidential Medal of Honour in 2012. Who would chuck her CV in the bin?
If you think she wouldn't be able to handle a bunch of guys, you should consider that her trademark wasn't screaming and shouting, but rather a silent, icy glare that had players trembling. No 'hair dryers' for her, but rather that mother of all punishments: "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed," which is so much worse!
She was so intimidating and effective that more than a few pro men's sides tried to tempt her away from Tennessee, but all failed, showing how loyal she would be to the Proteas once ensconced in the role.
As withe above nominees, the technical aspects are less important than her motivational talents. You have batting and bowling coaches to deal with the nitty gritty, but Summitt has a record eight NCAA titles, and played in the Olympics in 1976, so Big Match Temperament will be her main contribution.
<b>4. Mike Horn</b><br>Speaking of inspirational, the famous explorer has been a crucial member of Kirsten's mental coaching team in the past year or so, and could step up to a more permanent position.
This would of course mean taking time away from his Twitter feed, where he excels at writing grammatically hilarious messages that require a few read-throughs to decipher. But he is a proponent of fixing his mistakes, crucial as a coach, and soon a corrected Tweet, with punctuation, will arrive.
Horn would also be a good motivator in terms of both fitness and failure deterrent. "Didn't win the World Cup? Fine. Off we go to Everest, so pack your Speedos and flip-flops, lads! You have four hours to reach base camp, and make me some tea."
All kidding aside, the man is hard-core. He's been Kirsten's no-so-secret weapon for the Test side, and the players adore him. So as he Tweeted, "Personal growth stop if you stay in the same surrounding. @Gary_Kirsten you have taken experience but left behind a chapter of history!"
<b>5. The Ashes loser</b><br>If I were someone to placed bets, I'd say that a) Australia, as they are now, will not win the Ashes and that b) Mickey Arthur will be jobless at the end of it, either by force or by citing the popular 'family' reason for quitting.
Filling Kirsten's spikes will be a tough task for anyone, but Arthur and Andy Flower are both African boys and will fit right in. Ok sure, Arthur left CSA under less than ideal circumstances, but the tiff must have blown over by now.
Zimbabwean Flower, though, would be an ideal hire. He's composed, polite, stays cool when asked about controversial players, deals well with interfering top brass, and can make the most out of a group of South Africans.
<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>
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