Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
The South Africa Under 19 Women’s head coach, Dinesha Devnarain, has obtained a CSA Level Four coaching certificate, becoming the first woman in the country to achieve the prestigious qualification.
From playing mini-cricket in Bakerton, Springs, Gauteng, the former Momentum Proteas all-rounder will guide the SA U19 Women’s team to the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, which will be held in South Africa in January 2023.
Devnarain took on the dual role as the first full-time Women’s Under-19s and as the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s National Academy head coach in 2020.
She has reflected on incredible cricketing journey thus far, representing the country in all levels from SA Schools, KZN Provincial Women and a national call up to the senior women’s team in 2008, which saw her star shine bright.
After captaining the side multiple times in Ireland and Australia, Devnarain admits that the passion for coaching saw her take the first steps into coaching education.
“While playing international cricket, the impromptu training sessions with my teammates were very informative as I always had a different perspective on certain techniques. Seeing the improvement when my peers applied my strategies made me realise that this is another career path I can step into,” said Devnarain.
Devnarain acquired the first two coaching levels whilst still playing international cricket. And as a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, taking on added responsibility may be deemed impossible by the faint-hearted.
“Helping people has always been my passion. With the gaps I saw in the cricket development, I knew I will be able to make a difference. The first option I had in my mind was to take up coaching at school level and help build the next generation of upcoming cricketers.”
In 2015, Devnarain obtained her level three coaching certificate and continued to play the game she loves.
Two years later, whilst playing for the KZN-based side, Devnarain was appointed as the KZN Coastal Under-19s and the Women’s Senior Provincial team, a role she did not take lightly. With her at the
helm, the KZN Coastal Senior Women (now Hollywoodbets Dolphins Ladies) moved from the CSA Women’s second division to the Division One (Top 6), playing a very competitive brand of cricket.
“My role as a coach has always been more than the sport. In our country, as a leader, one needs to be able to create a culture of acknowledging the different backgrounds but working and playing together as a unit.
“Nurturing young talent is one of the most gratifying roles. You must be able to take care of the minor things to make sure the girls have less distractions.
“I have always believed in building all-round individuals and making an impact in young people’s lives. Taking education of the young girls to heart and ensuring they get the help needed to get through matric and acquire driving license, etc,” Devnarain continued
Devnarain has also attributed her achievement to her late father, who embraced her passion from a very young age.
Reflecting of her journey towards achieving the coveted Level 4 Coaching Certificate, Devnarain said, “It was not an easy journey; it took a while to actually process it and my emotions. The course was extremely demanding and required a lot of time management and planning.
“One gets easily intimidated going into class with international coaches and franchise men coaches. As women we need to believe in ourselves and speak with conviction regarding the knowledge we possess whilst also remaining vulnerable and open to new information.
“I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that CSA has afforded me, as a player and a coach. I am truly grateful for all the support along the way from my peers and my family.
“All I can say now is that we need to support one another as female coaches. There is a place for women in high performance sport and we have a lot of coaches in our development that I hope can see me as an opening, an avenue to inspire women in South Africa,” Devnarain concluded.
Level Four, which focuses primarily on High Performance Cricket, is the highest cricket coaching qualification currently obtainable in South Africa. The qualification is mainly for professional career coaches working within the national and domestic professional structures.