Former Warwickshire batsman Andy Moles has been put in charge of South African provincial team South Western Districts (SWD) for the next two seasons. Moles, who had coached New Zealand, Hong Kong, Scotland, Kenya and Afghanistan in the past, has a long-standing association with South African cricket, having spent five seasons playing at Griqualand-West in Kimberley and coaching Free State.
Moles was in charge of the Free State side, which included players such as Boeta Dippenaar, Nicky Boje and Morne van Wyk, in 1998 – before South Africa’s domestic system was franchised. Then, he coached at the highest domestic level in the country.
He has now accepted a post in the second tier of the structure. South Africa’s six franchises form the top level of domestic cricket, with the 13 provincial semi-professional sides making up a lower level. SWD, who are based in Oudtshoorn – 350 kilometres east of Cape Town – feed into the Cobras set-up and contain a rich basin of cricketing talent that Moles hopes to tap into.
“I have followed the structures and growth in SWD during the past decade and I firmly believe that there is a pool of exceptional talent in the Southern Cape,” Moles said.
In 2013, SWD were granted CSA affiliate status and they have continued to grow since then. Their home ground has received major upgrades, and this summer, they are one of the four hosts of the Africa T0 Cup, which will also be Moles’ first assignment. Last year, SWD missed out on a place in the playoffs after beating Gauteng and losing to Kenya by one run. However, they are hoping to improve on those performances this time around and challenge in the three-day and one-day cups as well.
“Andy has achieved great success at every level he has coached at and we expect that he will continue to achieve such success at SWD upon his appointment as our new head coach,” Rudy Claassen, the SWD president, said. “We believe that he has what it takes to get the best out of our players as he brings something special with him in that he has a proven track record, and hopefully his experience and expertise aids in SWD winning some silverware in the near future.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent