Gary Kirsten leaves Welsh Fire in first Hundred sacking

Gary Kirsten leaves Welsh Fire in first Hundred sacking - Stu Forster/GETTY IMAGES
Gary Kirsten leaves Welsh Fire in first Hundred sacking - Stu Forster/GETTY IMAGES

Welsh Fire have parted company with their head coach Gary Kirsten after two dismal years. He becomes the first coach in the Hundred to pay the price for poor results.

Last year, Darren Lehmann left Northern Superchargers – to be replaced by James Foster – due to uncertainty over Covid-19, and having suffered a heart attack on his 50th birthday in early 2020. But Kirsten is the first coach to leave following a concerted run of poor performances.

Coaching roles for teams in the Hundred are decided by each club’s board, which in Fire’s case is led by Glamorgan’s director of cricket Mark Wallace. Kirsten confirmed to Telegraph Sport that he will not be coaching Welsh Fire next year.

Paul Farbrace, the former England assistant coach, and David Saker, who has recently worked with the national team as a bowling consultant, will be among the candidates for the role. A leftfield option would be Eoin Morgan, the former England captain, as a player/coach in the twilight of his career.

Fire lost all eight of their matches this season, having won just three - to finish second-bottom - in 2021. Last year, they won their first two matches, which were the only two that star England batter Jonny Bairstow has been available across either season, meaning they have won just one of their last 14 matches.

Kirsten, 54, played 101 Tests for South Africa before retiring in 2004 and has since become a well-credentialed coach, having led India to the 2011 World Cup and South Africa to the top of the Test rankings a year later. Alongside Welsh Fire, he has a job at Gujarat Titans.

He made it to the last two of England’s search for a Head Coach in both 2019, when he lost out to Chris Silverwood, and 2022, when Brendon McCullum got the Test job.

For all that, Kirsten has failed to make a positive impression at Welsh Fire, which was already the most difficult sell of the eight teams in the Hundred for the ECB, even before the poor performances set in. It is understood there was little in the way of culture at the Cardiff team – other sides were able to foster this – and the team itself had no obvious identity. Results followed.

Meanwhile, the Surrey batter Laurie Evans has returned a positive anti-doping test result, relating to a sample provided whilst on duty with Manchester Originals in the Hundred earlier this year.

“I was shocked to be told that an anti-doping sample I provided in August 2022 tested positive for trace amounts of a banned substance,” said Evans, in a Professional Cricketers Association statement.

“I believe passionately in clean sport and I have never taken any banned substances. I do not know what caused the positive test but my team and I are investigating how this could have happened and I am doing everything possible to find out.

“Due to the confidentiality of the process, I cannot say any more at this stage but I would like to thank my family for supporting me at this very distressing time.”