Pietermaritzburg – As the Hollywoodbets KZN Inland squad prepare for the new and exciting era of domestic cricket in South Africa, the KZN Cricket Union has announced that Michael Smith will take over as the head coach going into the new season.
Smith, who is currently the Director of Cricket at Grey High in Gqeberha, is no stranger to the City of Choice as he spent three years as the Director of Cricket at Maritzburg College.
After cutting his teeth at schoolboy cricket Smith is also currently involved with Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League as the assistant coach to former Proteas white ball captain Johan Botha.
Heading back to Pietermaritzburg might not be a homecoming for Smith but he is excited to get back to familiar surroundings.
“It’s not going to be a daunting arrival because I have been there before and have been in the system, even if it was in a limited capacity,” Smith said. “I was involved with Shane Burger when he was the coach and went with the side to the Africa T20 Cup so I have an understanding of how things work at Inland.
“Also my family have friends in Pietermaritzburg that we still keep in touch with so it will be great to reconnect with them when he get there.”
As domestic cricket in South Africa moves into a new era with two divisions, Smith is excited by the challenge that he and his side are going to face in the second tier of the structure.
“This new set-up for domestic cricket in South Africa is the right move and I think that it’s going to be a big success.
“The management at Inland have done very well in getting a strong squad with a great balance to it and it also features a number of players who were on the cusp of franchise cricket in previous seasons.
“Inland went from being known as the scrappers to being one of the strongest sides in the semi-professional set-up and that’s a great place for me to build from.
“You want to be playing against good teams and players all the time and with the pressure of promotion and relegation all teams have to perform.”
Cricket Services Manager at KZN Inland Jason Sathiaseelen is looking forward to welcoming Smith back to the province’s capital.
“Michael was the ideal candidate for the job given that he knows a lot about cricket in Maritzburg,” Sathiaseelen said.
“He has a great relationship with the schools in the area and we think that is going to be a key for us to retain the immense amount of talent in the city.
“With promotion to Division One the goal after two seasons we believe that we have the man to get us there.”
KZN Cricket CEO Heinrich Strydom is keen to see what Smith can achieve with the exciting squad he has at his disposal.
“Michael has proven that he is more than capable of making that step up to a head coach role in our domestic structure,” Strydom said.
“With a strong blend of youth and experience in his squad which includes a large portion of Inland players who have been successful we are looking forward to him hopefully guiding the side into Division 1.
“Inland are a side that have tasted a lot of success in the semi-professional era and with Michael’s plans we hope that this will continue.”