MUMBAI: South Africa hope to give coach Gary Kirsten the perfect parting gift by winning next month's Champions Trophy, and have no fears that his replacement, Russell Domingo, is up to the job of guiding the world's best Test team to further success, pace spearhead Dale Steyn has told Reuters.
The Champions Trophy in England and Wales will be the last tournament in charge for Kirsten, who stunned South African cricket last week by announcing he would not renew his contract as he wanted to spend more time with his young family.
Steyn, ranked the world's best test bowler, said it would be fitting for Kirsten to win the Champions Trophy as he departs South Africa, given his last act as India coach was to steer his side to World Cup triumph in 2011.
“That would be very nice. It would be a lovely way for him to exit the side,” Steyn told Reuters late on Tuesday. “(In) similar fashion when he left India after he won the World Cup.
“It wouldn't be that bad if we say to him, 'Yeah you can go home and you can take another trophy with you.' That would be pretty cool.”
Kirsten is the most successful coach in test and limited overs cricket in recent years, having led India to a World Cup win in 2011 and guiding them, and subsequently the South African team, to the top of the test rankings.
Domingo was promoted from his position as assistant to replace Kirsten and Steyn felt the decision would work out fine.
“Russell has been with us for a while now. He has been with the team since Gary arrived,” the 29-year old paceman told Reuters in an interview arranged by Evolution Sports Nutrition.
“I think he's learned a lot working under Gary. Russell is also a great coach. He was working with the Warriors in South Africa ... he has already coached the South African side in Twenty20s.
“So he's no stranger to the set-up. I think he's going to be just fine.”
South Africa's inability to win a major tournament despite an abundance of talent saw them labelled chokers but the Proteas will have a good opportunity to ditch that tag at the June 6-23 Champions Trophy, which will be the last time the tournament follows the 50-over format.
“I am not going to come up with any excuses if we win it and I am not going to come up with any excuses if we don't win it,” said Steyn, who has 332 test wickets from 65 matches.
“I am preparing as well as I can. We have got the players to win it and probably we would have said the same thing in the build-up to every other tournament.
“What I can say is that the guys are excited and they are looking forward to participating in another one and it will be nice to win it.”
Steyn is one of those who believes the workload of playing all three formats of the game might lead to burnout.
“It's definitely not (sustainable). It's extremely difficult and I am talking about it in general and not just about me,” said the bowler, whose combination of raw pace and lethal swing can be a nightmare for any batsman.
“Decisions will have to be made pretty soon I guess, maybe in the next couple of years or so. I will see how the body goes.
I will never give up all three formats.
“But I will decide what is important, what is worth playing and what is not worth playing.”