The offseason has seen the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union make changes to its coaching ranks as they hope to push for more success in the forthcoming season with Mduduzi Mbatha returning to the province to take over the reins of the KZN Academy and the Under-19 side.
Mbatha’s coaching pedigree is impressive. The 29-year-old was involved in the coaching structures at Northerns Cricket, handling their academy and Under 19 structures as well as coaching the amateur side.
The former Durban High School pupil, who was a member of the KZN Academy in 2007, studied at the University of Pretoria and returns to Durban with his eye firmly set on climbing the coaching ranks and growing the younger players in the province.
“I understand what has been happening here, having been part of the academy, and I am really looking forward to making my own mark and creating a winning environment here,” said Mbatha. “I see where we stand as a union and I am hoping that I can help in getting the union and the franchise thinking that we can be as good as I think we can be.
“It’s a bit of a homecoming for me and I am really excited about what lies ahead for me and for the union. I applied for the post here because I am hoping that I can grow and improve as a coach here.”
Mbatha will work closely with the franchise coach Grant Morgan as he tries to push his academy players to knock on the door for franchise honours.
Other coaching positions at the KZNCU that have been confirmed include Kenneth Mafunga who will take up the head coach position of the KZN Under 17 and 15 sides with Dinesha Devnarain at the helm of women’s cricket.
The junior coaching positions, Under 11 and 13, will be filled at the beginning of July.
KZN Inland Cricket has also announced their coaching structures for the upcoming season. Shane Burger will remain at the helm of the KZN Inland Men’s team with Mbasa Gqadushe taking over at the academy and the Under 19 side.
Former Proteas seamer Yusuf Abdullah will head up the Under 17 and 15 sides while Siyabonga Gumede will coach the Under 13 and 11 sides. Richard Hlela will coach women’s cricket in the region.