A coach with experience of winning a global tournament, while also building a strong connection with Faf du Plessis were the two main reasons behind Ottis Gibson's appointment as South Africa's head coach. Gibson was recommended by a CSA-convened panel that included two former national coaches, Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, who decided Gibson's clarity of thought made him the right candidate to take over. Gibson also won the World T20 in 2012 with West Indies.
"He is going to bring a fresh outlook. He has got a lot of experience now," Simons told ESPNcricinfo at the official unveiling of the Stellenbosch Kings franchise, where he is assistant coach. "He has coached at a number of levels. He has coached West Indies, where he ended up losing his job, and I think in that process as a coach, you end up learning a lot. .
"Ottis is a very detailed coach. We asked a lot of questions about him - what is he like, what is his style is and we obviously need to marry the relationship, not only with him and the team but especially with the captain. I think they are going to fit well together from that perspective. Ottis is a good thinker, a good planner of the game and I think that's what Faf likes. He likes that information."
Earlier this week, before Gibson's arrival in South Africa, du Plessis was confirmed as South Africa's captain in all three formats after being given the ODI reins. That means du Plessis will likely take South Africa to the 2019 World Cup, a trophy they are desperate to win.
To have a a coach who understands that need is essential. Even though du Plessis and many other current players gave Russell Domingo - the only coach under whom South Africa have won a World Cup knockout game - their vote of confidence, the panel felt a change in thinking, and specifically a foreign coach with experience was necessary.
"It was not just a case of picking the person, you also have to marry what's needed. We are not far away from an ICC tournament, although it may feel far away. Ottis has been there, he has won a tournament, and he has been part of a professional set up. So he emerged as the right person," Simons said.
"We wanted someone with international experience, someone that is going to bring fresh ideas and look at things from a different perspective. You've seen teams that have done that. Mickey Arthur has worked well in Pakistan, Gary Kirsten did it in India, an outsider. Sometimes being able to look at it from a different perspective is refreshing. We have had a really mature and clear-thinking captain in Faf and I think what Ottis is going to bring to Faf is going to be very good."
Gibson was not among the initial applicants for the South African job, which included Lions' Geoffrey Toyana, who has won four trophies in five seasons. He was considered the front-runner but was head-hunted after CSA were understood to be unconvinced by the candidates that had put themselves in contention. As a result, the panel missed their deadline.
They were initially due to put forward their preferred name at a CSA board meeting on July 21. It emerged a week later, in a Daily Mail report, during the third Test against England that Gibson had been approached. He was only confirmed as coach later in August once his release from his ECB contract, where he was employed as bowling coach, was secured. Gibson is scheduled to arrive in South Africa next Monday, giving him 10 days to prepare for his first assignment against Bangladesh.
"It was a very good process. Everybody started on an equal footing," Simons said. "With coaches, we hire them when we shouldn't and fire them when we should hire them. Ottis has walked a very good path as a coach. In speaking to him and the players around him, he was very honest about what he has learnt and what he has become. That was a part of it and the other part is that we think he is going to be very good for Faf."