WITS cricket has appointed Hancke von Rauenstein as the new first team head coach for the upcoming season. A former Free State amateur player and head coach of the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein, Von Rauenstein is looking forward to the challenge of cementing Wits as a top club in the league.
Von Rauenstein is under no illusion as to what the primary goal is for his new team.
“We have to gain promotion into the top division, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “With the number of players available, the facilities on offer and the way the club is run, there is no doubt that Wits should be competing in the top league.”
The previous coach, Aldo van den Berg, was not the only departure from the squad. Senior players including opening batsman Andrew Kirkland and leading leg-spinner Eddie Leie have moved on to other clubs and Wits will now have to rebuild. According to on Rauenstein this will have little effect on his approach.
“All I can do is what I know. My strategy is to help the individual achieve what he wants by creating a first-class environment at practice and on match days. A happy team is a successful team and I want all the players in both the first and second teams to feel comfortable.”
Stability breeds success in any sports team and most sides that go through a rebuilding phase struggle initially. This does not concern all-rounder Thabiso Tshabalala who views this coming season as an exciting time in Wits cricket.
“A new coach means new opportunities for players who were left behind by the old regime. There are hungry players who are eager to prove to themselves and the selectors that they deserve a place in the first team.”
Club captain Mark Waspe agrees and is optimistic that Von Rauenstein can bring Wits back to its former glory.
“We want to win trophies again and be competing in the top league. This is a rebuilding period but that does not have to be a negative. Everyone is starting from scratch again and there will be plenty of competition for places.”
With a proposed 20/20 Varsity Cup in September on the cards, all Wits players will be hoping to impress the new coach and get Wits cricket back to where it belongs.