Cricket South Africa has appointed former women’s all-rounder Dinesha Devnarain in a dual role as the first full-time Women’s Under-19 as well as Women’s National Academy head coach, the board announced on Monday (April 6).
Devnarain, who played 29 ODIs and 22 T20Is for South Africa, has earned a three-year contract commencing from April 2020. The 31-year-old, who last played for South Africa in 2016 before retiring, will oversee the U19 team at the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place in Bangladesh in early 2021.
“As part of her new role, Devnarain will manage the player development structures, with particular attention in identifying promising young talent with the prospect of playing for the Proteas,” CSA stated in a media release.
A KwaZulu Natal native, Devnarain obtained her level three CSA coaching certificate towards the fag end of her career, and has previously served as an assistant coach at the National Academy since 2017. She has also coached KZN Coastal Under-19s and the Women’s Senior Provincial team whilst playing for the side.
Spin duo Nonkululeko Mlaba and Nondumiso Shangase, who were both a part of South Africa’s recent T20 World Cup campaign, have both emerged from the region under Devnarain’s tutelage.
“This is great news for the growth of women’s cricket in South Africa. 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,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer of CSA, Dr Jacques Faul. “As a former player, Dinesha understands the women’s landscape and her pedigree proves itself.”
“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,” added Faul.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity,” expressed Devnarain. “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.”