Dinesha Devnarain, the former South Africa allrounder, has been appointed in a dual role as the first full-time head coach of the Under-19 and Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Academy programs on Monday (April 6). She thus becomes the first black female coach to earn a dual role, underlining CSA efforts to strengthen and encourage diversity in the women's game.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity,” Devnarain said. “It’s a very important tier – being in between the provincial structures and the national team."
“The one major positive about South African cricket is that there is a lot of talent and skill within our provincial structures. What I’m looking forward to is identifying players with potential and nurturing that potential in a high-performance environment.”
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Devnarain, who previously served as assitant coach in the academy between 2017 and 2019, has signed a three-year deal commencing in April 2020. She will oversee the Under-19 program leading into the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup scheduled to take place in Bangladesh early next year.
"This is great news for the growth of women's cricket in South Africa," Dr Jacques Faul, interim chief executive of CSA, said. "Part of empowering women within cricket is not only managing the player pipeline but by elevating female coaching staff, who will produce players that can perform at the highest level. As a former player, Dinesha understands the women’s landscape and her pedigree proves itself.”
Devnarain enjoyed an eight year international career feauturing in 29 ODIs and 22 T20Is for South Africa between her debut in 2008 and her retirement in 2016. A powerful batter who also bowled handy medium pace, the 31-year-old obtained her level three coaching certificate while still playing domestic cricket for KwaZulu Natal (KZN). She even coached the regional Under-19 and Senior provincial team while she was still playing. She is one of only eight women to hold the qualification in the country, and the first ever from KZN.
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Having already coached and mentored a couple of international players - Nonkululeko Mlaba and Nondumiso Shangase -one of the key aspects of her role will include identifying young talent and putting them through well defined development systems where they can continue to grow and hone their talent for the higher level. Her proven track record indicates that South Africa is in good hands.
“Dinesha will be working with aspiring female cricketers with the aim of closing the gap between the national and emerging teams. This is vitally important, given the number of senior Proteas players who will be nearing the end of their careers in two or three years' time,” Faul concluded.