Royals Sports Group’s latest overseas franchise, Paarl Royals, today revealed their coaching staff which will set the groundwork for the to-be-assembled playing squad, along with guiding and preparing them at the inaugural edition of the Cricket South Africa's officially sanctioned league - SA20, which is scheduled to kick-off in January 2023. Former South African international JP Duminy, known for his explosive and impactful batting in the middle order, wily off spin and energetic demeanor on the field, has been appointed as the Head Coach.
The 38-year-old left-hander hung up his cricketing boots in 2019, the same year when he also lifted the Caribbean Premier League trophy with Paarl Royals' partner franchise, the Barbados Royals (then known as Barbados Tridents). He has since stepped into the coaching ecosystem, serving as a Strategic Consultant to the South African Men’s Team in 2021 and as a Batting Consultant to domestic side Lions. Notably, his most recent stint has been in the role of Head Coach of Paarl-based provincial side Boland, as well as the Paarl Rocks domestic T20 side.
“I have always had a very close connection with Paarl, having played plenty of my cricket at Boland Park, and hence it’s an honour for me to have been appointed as the Head Coach of the Paarl Royals. It is an exciting time for everyone associated with South African cricket and I’m really looking forward to working with some exceptional international and local players. The shared knowledge and experience in the dressing room is what I'm most excited about and having the privilege to facilitate and unlock our abilities together with my coaching/management staff," stated Duminy.
Having signed a strong core in the form of England's star batter Jos Buttler, West Indies' canny pacer Obed McCoy and South Africa's exciting duo of David Miller and Corbin Bosch, Head Coach Duminy will be joined by another familiar name in South Africa’s cricketing coaching circuit as Richard Das Neves, who represented Gauteng during his playing days as a bowling all-rounder, and will be shouldering the duties of Strategy and Spin Bowling Coach for the Paarl Royals. With a wealth of experience under his belt through various coaching roles in domestic cricket, mainly with the Titans, and international coaching stints with Namibia and Hong Kong, Das Neves will be aiding the bowling department on strategizing for the SA20.
Meanwhile, former Titans and Northerns’ pacer Mandla Mashimbyi, is set to serve as the Fast Bowling Coach with proven expertise under his belt. Among many of his crucial spells in domestic cricket, the 41-year-old was also associated with the South African national side as their Fast Bowling Coach for a brief period last year.
Mark Charlton, who was awarded ‘Division 2 Coach of the Season Award’ at Cricket South Africa’s annual awards last month, will serve as the Royals’ Batting Coach. Charlton has had various stints across the country, most notably leading the Northern Cape Heat to the Division 2 Four-Day Series title as their Head Coach, while also having contributed to the Titans in previous spells.
Former Australian women's cricketer Lisa Keightley has joined the Royals' support staff as the Tactical Performance Coach, bringing with her extensive coaching experience in the T20 format through her role with the England Women's Cricket Team. The two-time World Cup winner will be a crucial value-add to the Royals, being renowned for her tactical, strategic and player management nous, with the Royals Sports Group also focused on expanding the women's game around the globe.
Boland Park-based franchise also announced the appointment of Russel Aspeling as the Team Catalyst, a designation that was first coined by the Royals for IPL 2022 season, being undertaken by the experienced Paddy Upton. Aspeling, who has worked previously with Duminy at Paarl Rocks, has expertise of guiding up-and-coming athletes in sport and mainly cricket, and will be responsible for creating a positive and engaging atmosphere within the squad to help them acclimatize and overcome various situations during the course of the season.
While, as is the case with all the franchises that come under the Royals' banner, the Paarl Royals coaching staff will be supported by the Royals' Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara along with Strategy, Development and Performance Director, Zubin Bharucha, throughout the season. AT Rajamani, who has served Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and is also present with Barbados Royals in the CPL this season, will assume the role of Strength and Conditioning Coach. The central analytics team of the Royals will also be present onground to provide their insights.
“Paarl Royals is a team that is entrenched with the objective of providing the right opportunities to the people in South Africa, whether that is for the talented cricket-playing youth or for those who want to give back to the game through coaching. Having started off by securing a strong core of players in Jos, David, Obed and Corbin, we are now delighted to have recruited some of the sharpest minds in South African cricket. JP, Mark, Richard, Mandla, Russel and Lisa have all been very successful in their respective roles across teams and also understand the local ecosystem well. We believe that utilizing key learnings from within the IPL will only help us replicate the Royals’ brand of entertaining and passionate cricket in South Africa and will make everyone associated with Paarl extremely happy and proud as we kick off this new journey," stated Royals' Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara.