Former Proteas all-rounder Dinesha Devnarain has been appointed in a dual role as the first full-time Women's Under-19s and as the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women's National Academy head coach.
Devnarain, who has served as the assistant coach of the National Academy since 2017, has signed a three-year deal commencing from April 2020. Her appointment is a further indication of the increased efforts by CSA to strengthen the women's game.
The 31-year-old will oversee the Under-19s progress to the inaugural ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place in Bangladesh, in early 2021.
"This is great news for the growth of women's cricket in South Africa. Part of empowering women within cricket is not only managing the player pipeline but by elevating female coaching staff, who will produce players that can perform at the highest level," said Interim Chief Executive Officer of CSA, Dr Jacques Faul.
"As a former player, Dinesha understands the women's landscape and her pedigree proves itself."
Devnarain made her international debut in 2008 and played 29 One-Day Internationals and 22 T20Is before retiring in 2016. Towards the end of the career, the KwaZulu-Natal native obtained her level three CSA coaching certificate - one of only eight women in the country to hold the qualification, and the first from KZN.
Prior to her national appointment, she coached KZN Coastal Under-19s and the Women's Senior Provincial team, whilst playing for the side.
As part of her new role, Devnarain will manage the player development structures, with particular attention in identifying promising young talent with the prospect of playing for the Proteas.
She has a proven track record, with several national players having emerged under her tutelage. Her most recent products are KZN Coastal bowling pair Nonkululeko Mlaba and Nondumiso Shangase, who featured in their maiden ICC Women's T20 Cricket World Cup last month.
"Dinesha will be working with aspiring female cricketers with the aim of closing the gap between the national and emerging teams. This is vitally important, given the number of senior Proteas players who will be nearing the end of their careers in two or three years' time," added Faul.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity," expressed Devnarain. "It's a very important tier - being in between the provincial structures and the national team.
"The one major positive about South African cricket is that there is a lot of talent and skill within our provincial structures. What I'm looking forward to is identifying players with potential and nurturing that potential in a high-performance environment."