Former SA T20 captain and ex Cape Cobras skipper Justin Ontong was named amongst the management staff of the national coach, Ottis Gibson.
He will start as fielding coach on 16th December.
“This is a chance of a lifetime, an early Christmas present, and I had to grab it with both hands,” said Justin Ontong, senior World Sport Betting Cape Cobras’ batsman.
Few players domestically sustained their excellence with the bat and in the field over such extended period as Ontong.
He has compiled 11 933 runs at an average of 41.87 at first-class level in twenty years while also capturing 136 wickets.
The 37-year-old has scored the bulk of his first-class runs for the Cape Cobras, Boland and Western Province. He represented South Africa in two tests and 28 One Day Internationals.
He wore the armband as Cape Cobras skipper during an all-conquering period when the Cobras won all the trophies on offer, while also sharing the spoils in the Momentum One Day Cup competition.
“It is an enormous blessing to be back in the Proteas fold, although it is in a coaching capacity,” Ontong remarked.
“We boast very good athletes in the Proteas team and it is a good challenge to work with their skills. I intend to test them in different ways in the field (to boost their levels),” he added.
Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the WSB Cape Cobras, said the franchise released Ontong from his domestic contract from 15th December in the best interests of South African cricket.
“We salute his undisputed legacy to Western Cape cricket. We believe he will ensure that South Africa sustains its proud world-class standards of fielding,” said Dien.
As a player and captain, he personified all the values associated with the WSB Cape Cobras. He was the champion within, elegant, defiant and had an amazing ability to reinvent himself as a batsman. His effervescence as a fielder endeared him to spectators in all the domestic arenas.
“One of his greatest moments came when he hammered 927 runs in the 2013/2014 season for the WSB Cape Cobras. He was skipper of the Cobras, South Africa A and South Africa, a rare feat indeed,” Dien added.
It is memorable moment that one of our stars in the Boland and former South African player receives an international call-up to manage the coaching of the fielders,” said Angelo Carolissen, president of Boland Cricket. “He was one of the more versatile fielders that the Proteas produced – in the slip cordon, at cover or when patrolling the boundary area.
“Justin is one of the golden stars of Boland and we believe he will add value to the fielding unit of South Africa and lift them to another level,” Carolissen remarked.
Beresford Williams, president of the Western Province Cricket Association, said Ontong is an iconic player whose outstanding service contributed to an era of domestic dominance by the Cape Cobras. “His leadership and all-round skills, especially his batting at number four, were invaluable to the success of the franchise.”
Ashwell Prince, the current Cape Cobras coach, said Ontong’s longevity was a feat of his career. He fulfilled the role of mentor with distinction while also contributing regularly during a stellar 2017/2018 season in the Sunfoil Series.