Allan “White Lightning” Donald (AD) was the mainstay pace bowler of the South African cricket side for the better half of a decade . Donald also established himself as a prolific county player for Warwickshire and Worcestershire in England in recent years. In sporting terms he was prime talent (330 wickets in 72 Tests). report today that Donald is interested in fulfilling a role as England’s bowling coach. Just when I thought the world of sport could teach us a thing or two about managing talent, AD’s potential change in patriot nation poses some tough questions.
Firstly, it was reported on radio that AD was pursuing the position because such avenues were closed to him regarding the SA national team. Whether accurate or not, this spurns me. How can we let prime Talent like AD slip through our hands in such a fashion? We all know that our bowling attack is not the best in the world and we could definitely benefit from his insight and experience.
But then, would we? Do we not run the risk of making our best mechanic a workshop manager, so to speak? It is rare that mechanics make great managers. This also applies to talent in organisations: our Bright Young UPS delivery guys may not become great logistics managers, our Bright Young Accountants may not make great financial managers, etc, etc. But yet we feel agrieved when such great playing talent is not put into the ranks of “manager”?
“Donald is currently employed as a part-time consultant to South Africa’s Academy and the prospect of such a national hero joining England may prompt a more permanent job offer from the United Cricket Board of South Africa”.
If this indeed happens I’ll be upset. Why does it take an offer from a competitior to get due recognition from the company you’re currently choosing to work for? Granted, AD has always had one foot planted in the UK and one in SA.

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