Strandfontein Cricket Club changing coach after promotion to premier league

Keanan MitchellFile image: Keanan Mitchell.

Strandfontein Cricket Club have removed coach Keanan Mitchell after being promoted to the Western Province Cricket Association premier league.

Mitchell was player-coach during a successful 2018-19 WPCA first division A campaign, which saw Strandfontein Cricket Club end in second position – and consequently elevated to the 2019-20 premier league.

When appointed in August 2018, Mitchell outlined Strandfontein Cricket Club’s ambition to gain promotion to the premier league.

“I personally think we are a good 50-over innings team. We’ve done well in that format previously. Our objective is to get promoted to the premier league. With the team that we have, I feel we have what it takes to go all the way. For me personally, this appointment is a big stepping stone in my career,” he told Club Cricket SA at the time.

Strandfontein Cricket Club subsequently achieved the goal on the back of 16 wins in 22 matches and – alongside the University of Cape Town Cricket Club – have replaced the relegated Milnerton Cricket Club and Ottoman Cricket Club for the 2019-20 premier league.

Mitchell, who also worked with the District Sixers during the inaugural Cape Premier League earlier this year, has been retained as a Strandfontein Cricket Club player.

“The management have collectively decided that we need to employ a head coach that is more mature and that can handle the senior players well. It is obviously disappointing for Keanan and he probably feels hard done by. Our on-field success last season was not a reflection of what was going on off the field,” Strandfontein Cicket Club chairman Dean Josephs told Club Cricket SA.

“The main reason we got into the premier league is because of Keanan as a player, not as a coach. He was instrumental on the field and performed well there. We cannot fault him as a player, but as a coach it’s different. We don’t need our players coached with skills, it’s more about helping them with the mental and psychological side of things, which is a bridge too far for Keanan for now.”

“We explained to Keanan that he is a bit inexperienced in working with senior players. He is a good junior coach and has done well with that, but when it comes to him working with senior first team players, it is too big a transition for him at the moment.”