January 28, 2010

South African cricket

Who after Arthur?

Cricinfo

After Mickey Arthur vacated the South African coaching post, Ryan Hoffmann looks at the likely replacements in the Mail & Guardian. He puts interim coach Corie van Zyl and former captain Kepler Wessels as frontrunners.

When news of Arthur's departure first broke, Wessels was the first name being bandied about as a possible replacement. The former Proteas skipper has a no-nonsense reputation and is not afraid to voice his opinions, most notably on Graeme Smith's early days as captain of the national team. He has not had a great deal of success as a coach, both at English county Northamptonshire or in the Indian Premier League, but his technical knowledge of the game makes him a serious contender for the job.

In the Independent Online Kevin McCallum says the theory being floated that Graeme Smith engineered Arthur's downfall must be dismissed. He also wonders why it was so easy for some of the media and the general public to blame Smith.

Smith committed the horror sin of accepting the captaincy at the age of 22, taking over from the much-loved Shaun Pollock. Mothers wanted their daughters to marry Polly, fathers wanted their sons to bowl like him; then came along this young, brash fellow who took the world head on, dated a super model and was not afraid of confrontation. Smith is resented because he seems so sure of himself, because he scores his runs in such an ugly manner, and at such a rapid rate. This fear of confidence in South Africa is utterly bizarre. The perception of Smith is based more on emotion than the make-up of the man.

After attending the press conference confirming Arthur's exit, Neil Manthorp writes in Business Day that the controversial issue of 'transformation' never came up in it. He also says that the sacked selectors also had no official or unofficial guidelines on quotas for national selection.

So the executive committee decided to replace Arthur and sack the selectors. But who are the committee? What gives them that right? And what are they doing to help the lack of transformation?

It seems churlish to single anybody out, but let us take a couple of examples at random: brilliant businessman Lazarus Zim is president of Gauteng and therefore a member of the executive. Gauteng has two black franchise players — Thami Tsolekile, purchased from Cape Town, and Aaron Phangiso, nabbed from Northerns. It does not have a single locally produced black player — with Soweto next door.

The removal of the selection panel suggests that the quota system could soon make a return, writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian.

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