ECB tightlipped on SA approach for Gibson

The ECB say they have yet to receive an approach from Cricket South Africa regarding the services of the England bowling coach, Ottis Gibson, who has been linked to the South African head coach’s position which will be filled as early as next week. Current coach Russell Domingo, who has reapplied for the role, is out of contract at the end of the England tour and the Daily Mail first reported that CSA have been in discussion with Gibson to take over.

But an ECB spokesperson said they have had no communication from their South African counterparts and will not entertain any approach until next Tuesday at the earliest, when the ongoing series has been concluded

Talk of Gibson’s possible departure from the England camp was also news to Paul Farbrace, England’s assistant coach, who also suggested any confirmation would only come when the Test ends.

“Ottis is someone who has obviously had a lot of international experience. He did a great job for the West Indies, won the Twenty20 World Cup as a head coach, then lost out in a semi-final against Sri Lanka – which was a bit unfortunate for him. But at the moment Russell Domingo is head coach of South Africa and doing a brilliant job and it would be disrespectful of us to talk about his position all the time he’s in it,” Farbrace said. “We’ve obviously heard the news tonight, but I promise you we’ve had nothing official. It’s all being left now until the end of the series, I hope.”

Uncertainty over South Africa’s head coaching position has hovered over the side since January, when CSA announced they would be advertising the job and not extending Domingo’s contract for a fourth time. But it took five months for CSA to clarify the process they would follow in seeking a head coach, leaving Domingo, who has been in charge since mid-2013, in limbo.

In May, CSA appointed a five-man panel, including former national coaches Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend a candidate for the coaching job. They also opened applications until June 16, after which interviews were conducted. ESPNcricinfo understands Gibson did not apply for the job.

Domingo confirmed he had put himself in contention and had been interviewed but Lions’ coach Geoffrey Toyana was thought to be the front-runner, having had success at domestic level. Other names mentioned included Phil Simmons, who has been seen around the South African camp during the tour of England, and Rob Walter, the former South African fitness and fielding coach who is now with Otago.

The committee were due to address CSA’s board on July 21 but were delayed in their work and a decision on the coach was put back. One source suggested CSA was unhappy with the quality and the number of applications they had received and would consider head-hunting instead, especially since the mandate for the next coach is to win a World Cup.

Gibson has tasted major tournament success, having overseen West Indies’ capturing of the World T20 in 2012. He is currently in the second year of his second stint as England’s bowling coach. Gibson previously worked with England between 2007 and 2010 and rejoined them in 2015. Though he has no coaching experience in South Africa, he has played for three domestic teams in the country: Border, Griquas and Gauteng.

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