Gary Kirsten has made the shock announcement that he will resign as coach of the Hobart Hurricanes due to personal reasons after just one season with the club.
Cricket Tasmania confirmed Wednesday that Kirsten would not see out the second year of his contract with the KFC Big Bash League side and current Tasmania Tigers coach Adam Griffith, an assistant with the BBL team last season, will take over at the Hurricanes.
"I have made a decision for a specific personal reason to resign from my role as Head Coach of the Hobart Hurricanes," Kirsten said in a statement. "It is an unfortunate circumstance as I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the club.
"I want to thank everyone involved on the Hurricanes Program for their support and hard work, and I wish the players well for the upcoming season.
"I have no doubt the team will once again be extremely competitive, and under Adam Griffith and George Bailey they will enjoy strong leadership.
"I look forward to remaining a big Hurricanes supporter and will be watching closely from Cape Town. I loved my time in Hobart and explored much of Tasmania on my mountain bike, so thank you for a fantastic experience."
Tasmanian cricket legends Ricky Ponting and David Boon were part of a Cricket Tasmania panel that made the decision to hire Kirsten in April last year, tasking him with turning around the fortunes of the state's struggling T20 team.
Taking over from Damien Wright, Kirsten had an encouraging first season in leading the side to the BBL final and playing a role in the development of a number of younger players.
Having finished in the bottom half of standings for the previous three seasons, the Hurricanes made BBL|08 final before going down to the Adelaide Strikers.
Despite the defeat, the South African had overseen a remarkable season from player-of-the-tournament D'Arcy Short while the likes of overseas recruit Jofra Archer, as well as local players Ben McDermott and Tom Rogers, all flourished in breakout campaigns.
Griffith said he's looking forward to a implementing a streamlined approach across all three formats for Tasmanian cricket.
The former first-class fast bowler took the Tigers to the final of the JLT Sheffield Shield in his first season at the helm, a marked improvement on Tasmania's recent results in four-day cricket.
"It’s a big honour – even if a somewhat surprising one – to now become the BBL Hurricanes Head Coach, and caps off a pretty exciting last 14 months for me since joining the Tigers as their Head Coach in April last year," he said.
"It was brilliant working with Gary last season and I certainly took a wealth of knowledge away with me from his time at the Hurricanes – like his tactical thinking and coaching drills.
"Now that I’m head coaching the bulk of both male squads year-round in Hobart, we can really grow some effective long-term plans and ‘mix and match’ our training for all T20, Limited Overs and Shield four-day formats.
"We don’t just want to go one better than last season’s Big Bash final and Sheffield Shield final – we want to be finals bound every year with the Hurricanes and Tigers."
Kirsten, who struck 21 hundreds in 101 Tests for the Proteas through the 1990s and early 2000s, coached India to victory at the 2011 World Cup before returning home to take the head-coaching reins with South Africa.
He took his former side to the top of the ICC Test rankings during his stint from 2011-2013, while he was the batting coach for Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore last season.
"We are obviously disappointed that Gary needed to withdraw from the Hurricanes,” said Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins.
"Gary did an outstanding job last season taking us to the Grand Final and we were looking forward to going one step further under his leadership in BBL|08.
"We’re working with Gary to see if he can come to Hobart this summer so our fans can give him a proper send off.
"On the positive side, we can now move to integrate our Hurricanes and Tigers Male Programs under one Head Coach and create continuity for players with coaches.
"It is a great opportunity for Adam to build on his successful start with the Tigers."