Benkenstein blasts ‘unwise’ CSA for Gibson sacking

South African batting coach Dale Benkenstein during South African national cricket team training session at PPC Newlands on January 01, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

The former Proteas batting coach also finds it ironic that the governing body won’t judge Enoch Nkwe on one tour to India.

Dale Benkenstein has questioned Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) thought process after they sacked Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson earlier this month.

The governing body controversially opted to restructure the national team’s coaching setup, creating a new team director position, which has been handed on an interim basis to Enoch Nkwe.

“What CSA have done doesn’t make sense,” Benkenstein, who was Gibson’s batting coach, told Netwerk24.

“Ottis and (assistant) Mali Maketa gained so much experience from the World Cup campaign. They’ve lost an excellent head coach. I just can’t see how this was a wise decision.”

South Africa finished a disappointing seventh at the showpiece tournament in Britain, winning only three of their ten matches.

However, Benkenstein believes that judging the previous dispensation just on the World Cup failure contradicts acting director of cricket, Corrie van Zyl, assuring all last week that Nkwe won’t be judged solely on next month’s tour to India.

“In the end, we’ve essentially been judged on one tournament. Our form going into the World Cup had been good. It’s quite ironic,” he said.

The 45-year-old also highlighted CSA’s lack of communication once they decided to get rid of all of Gibson’s support staff.

“Technically I wasn’t sacked because my contract expired in July. The plan from the outset was to return full-time to my post at Hilton College. Nonetheless, I still read through the media that I was sacked.

“I’m lucky that I have something to fall back on, but I’m sure the others (Justin Ontong, Maketa, Clauden Henderson) will land back on their feet,” he said.

Benkenstein confirmed tensions between Gibson and the CSA hierarchy over selection policy, a major factor that derailed the former West Indian fast bowler’s planned contract extension till 2021, agreed in February.

“CSA promised Ottis certain things and then fell back on those promises. Ottis did a fine job. South Africa isn’t an easy team to coach given the criteria one has to fulfill in terms of selection.

“The fact that the team stayed a tight-knit unit during the World Cup despite all the disruptions is a testament to Ottis, (captain) Faf (du Plessis) and (former team manager) Doc Moosajee’s calming influence.”

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