Local cricket coach gets a ‘break’ in Hong Kong tournament

Dinesha Devnarain considers being the assistant coach of Warriors in the six team tournament as one of her biggest coaching achievements to date.

Dinesha Devnarain considers being the assistant coach of Warriors in the six team tournament as one of her biggest coaching achievements to date.

Published Apr 2, 2023


Having progressed significantly through the local cricket coaching ranks, Dinesha Devnarain of Chatsworth, Durban, will get to show her prowess on an international stage over the next couple of weeks.

When the organisers of the prestigious Fair Break Invitational 2023 women’s T20 cricket tournament, which begins in Hong Kong tomorrow, approached her to do coaching duties with one of the participating franchises, she grabbed it with glee.

Devnarain considers being the assistant coach of Warriors in the six team tournament as one of her biggest coaching achievements to date.

Cricket Coach Dinesha Devnarain will show off her coaching skills at the Fair Break Invitational 2023 women’s T20 cricket tournament Picture: Supplied

“This is a massive opportunity. The whole cricketing world will start to take note of your name and your work ethic. I feel honoured,” said Devnarain.

The Warriors head coach is Australian Julia Price and their opening match against the Sapphires is on Tuesday.

Former Proteas captain Mignon du Preez is also in the Warriors team.

Teams are made up of some big name players, backroom staff from around the world and players from associate nations (emerging cricketing countries).

“Yes, it is one of the biggest competitions in women’s cricket and it also engenders inclusivity and gives players from associate teams an opportunity at a top notch event, which is not easy to come by.”

Dinesha Devnarain making strides in the world of cricket coaching. Picture: Supplied

Devnarain, who is the only woman in SA to have achieved a Level 4 cricket coaching certification, the highest available coaching badge, considers working closely with Price to be a “wonderful opportunity”.

“She has coached around the world and is a renowned cricket commentator. I’m looking forward to seeing how she reads games, given her experience.

“I believe I will grow under her.”

Devnarain’s main role will be to assist Price and ensure her philosophy and game-plans are achieved.

“Price’s philosophy is similar to mine, which is to develop the game and ensure we get better.

“My other normal duties will include net and fielding sessions and other drills, ensuring all is well with the players and being available to talk to them if they require support.

She said she and the other heads in the team were in constant contact, planning and preparing for this event.

“The team’s manager is from the USA, the coach is from Australia and I’m in SA. Finding the correct time for virtual meetings was insane.

“Our meetings were about how we want to run things, tactics, the impression we want to make at the tournament and getting to know each other,” said Devnarain, who works at Cricket South Africa’s Centre for Excellence in Pretoria, where she nurtures some of the country’s young talent.

She landed the dual position of head coach of the CSA Girls Under-19 team and the Women’s Academy in 2020.

When she is done in Hong Kong, she hopes to leave having made an impact on the team.

“If they perform great, that’s wonderful. I am here for a short period of time, and I want to challenge the way people think and go about their game.

“You want to leave a lasting impression as a coach which I think will be my empathy, compassion and knowledge of the game. Just knowing that is not only about the performance factor, we are human too, so I would like to impact and influence their cricket careers and lives in some way”

Devnarain said she constantly pinches herself, when she reflects on how a girl from humble beginnings in Bayview, Chatsworth has achieved as player and coach over the years.

“I remember playing backyard cricket when I was young and I have gone on to represent my province and country, and now as a coach, I’m working with future stars of South Africa.

“Coaching on a global level is a dream come true.”

Vincent Barnes, CSA’s high-performance manager, said Devnarain approached him and Enoch Nkwe, CSA’s director of cricket, when she learned about the Hong Kong assistant coach opportunity.

“We felt it was a great opportunity for her to grow as a coach.

“I’m chuffed for Dinesha. The experience she gains will be brought back to CSA. It is well deserved,” said Barnes.