Ottis Gibson is expected to be named South Africa’s new coach within days.
While Gibson is currently employed as the England bowling coach and is expected to report to Birmingham on Monday for training ahead of the first Investec Test against West Indies, it is understood the ECB now sees his departure as inevitable and expects a deal to be finalised imminently.
Although England will hope Gibson is able to remain with them until the end of the Test series against West Indies – which could last until September 11 – they are aware that South Africa’s next Test series (against Bangladesh) starts on September 28. South Africa will want him present at a training camp that precedes that series.
Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s captain, confirmed earlier in the week that Gibson was the first choice of the panel charged with picking a new coach. That decision now has to be ratified by Cricket South Africa.
That only leaves CSA and the ECB to agree a compensation figure. While Gibson has a year of his England contract remaining, it is understood he has confirmed to the ECB that he wants to take the position with South Africa. It is not anticipated that the compensation discussion will delay his appointment.
That means that the Edgbaston Test could well be his last with England.
Richard Johnson, the former England seamer who currently performs the role of bowling coach with Middlesex, is a leading candidate to replace Gibson, though James Anderson could help out as a player-coach in the interim.
Another intriguing possibility is the addition of Darren Gough to the coaching staff in some capacity. While Gough is not thought to be interested in a full-time role, he has emerged as a possible candidate as a bowling coach or consultant of the white-ball sides. He is Level 3 qualified and recently made a good impression working with the England U-19s. He is understood to be open to an approach.
It is also understood that discussions continue with Saqlain Mushtaq. While he is currently contracted to spend 100 days a year with England, there is a good chance that role will be extended.