The KwaZulu-Natal Inland Cricket Union (KZNICU) has served notice of things to come by appointing former Eastern Province and Northern Titans wicket keeper/batsman Gareth Morgan (41) as head coach.
A product of Grey High in Port Elizabeth that also produced Graeme and Peter Pollock, Gavin Cowley, Rupert Hanley and Dave Callaghan, Morgan represented Eastern Province at primary school level and captained the EP Nuffield side before being selected as vice-captain of the South African Schools side in 1989.
Morgan rapidly rose through the junior ranks while at the University of Port Elizabeth before making his senior debut in 1993 against the England touring team. He accumulated close to 100 first class caps in both the three-day and one-day formats that included international matches against Australia, England, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka before hanging up his gloves in 2002.
But Morgan had already set his sights on a coaching career and steadily worked his way through the United Cricket Board of South Africa-sanctioned coaching qualifications during his playing days.
With the highest coaching diploma – Level 4 – under his belt, Morgan’s transition from player to player-coach and coach was seamless that included a stint at the Bloemendal Club in the Netherlands. His impressive coaching credentials included tenures as head coach at the University of Pretoria, Highveld Strikers and assistant coach of the South African under-19 team that were runners-up to India in the 2008 junior World Cup.
He enthusiastically embraced the T20 format and was assistant coach of the Royal Bangalore Challengers that were runners-up to the all-conquering Deccan Chargers in 2009.
Most recently, Morgan was the head coach of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – formerly the University of Port Elizabeth – where he guided the team to multiple provincial and national honours.
His appointment is considered a scoop by KZNICU president Yunus Bhamjee who is excited at the prospects of the young inland team under Morgan’s guidance.
“Grant comes not only with impeccable credentials, but also an impressive track record that underlines his ability to bring out the best inplayers,” he said.
Bhamjee said Morgan’s appointment is in line with the KZNICU’s ambitions to become a top cricketing entity with an emphasis on identifying and developing promising players.
“In this respect, we work closely with the Sunfoil Dolphins and its structures in our bid to develop cricket in KwaZulu-Natal,” Bhamjee said.
Morgan’s appointment was welcomed by both Dolphins CEO Jesse Chellan and head coach Lanced Klusener, particularly with regard to the development of talent in Pietermaritzburg and Midlands, regarded as one of the country’s top talent pools.
“My association with Grant goes back to our days at the Titans and Grant has been successful at every level he has coached. He brings immense passion for the game and has a unique ability to inspire and develop young cricketers,” said Chellan.
“Dolphins cricket is extremely excited in welcoming Grant Morgan as the Head Coach of the KZN Inland provincial team. Grant has a proven track record of developing players and winning trophies and it is fantastic to have a coach of his calibre working with our young talent in Pietermaritzburg,” he said.
Klusener echoed Chellan’s sentiments, saying that Morgan is the ideal candidate to unlock the rich talent the Midlands.
“This is exactly the type of coach that the Dolphins need in Maritzburg, and we will continue to work very closely with Grant and the rest of the KZN Inland team for mutual benefit,” Klusener said.
“Part of our discussions with Grant will be that he dedicates some time to identify and nurture the schoolboy talent in the greater Midlands area. Dolphins cricket has been at its best when we have had significant representation from Pietermaritzburg and surrounds,” Klusener said.