Gary Kirsten named Durban Heat head coach

File image: Gary Kirsten.File image: Gary Kirsten.

Former Proteas batsman Gary Kirsten will coach the Durban Heat during the 2019 edition of the Mzansi Super League.

Kirsten has also worked with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Hobart Hurricanes in the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League, respectively.

“I have got fond memories of playing cricket at Kingsmead and, with my wife being from these parts, she thinks it is a natural progression,” said Kirsten, who played 101 Tests and 185 ODIs between 1993 and 2004.

“It is also a great opportunity to be involved in South African cricket and when [KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union chief executive officer] Heinrich Strydom gave me the call I thought it was a great chance to stay relevant in the T20 space. For us as a franchise we want to ignite as much interest in the game as possible.

“The priority is obviously to win games, but we want to get people behind the brand and get the spectators to feel that the Durban Heat is their team.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to add as much value as I can to the side that we select so that they can reach their potential. I find that every league is different and it’s going to be important that we get into a rhythm early.”

Kirsten will work alongside Proteas stars David Miller and Keshav Maharaj, who have been retained alongside batsmen Khaya Zondo and Sarel Erwee and seamer Kyle Abbott, at the Heat.

“We took a shot in the dark and I gave Gary a ring and he said yes. To have his knowledge and his skills on board is incredible and hopefully we will have a good, long relationship going forward,” added Strydom.

“As a respected, humble ex-Proteas player there are so many positive things that you can say about him and to have him on board is exactly what the game in South Africa needs.

“We are extremely grateful that Gary has taken this opportunity to lead the Durban Heat.”