South African coaching vacancy March 17, 2005

Players shouldn't dictate coach's selection, says Symcox

Cricinfo staff
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Pat Symcox: the tail should not wag the dog in South African cricket © Getty Images

Pat Symcox, the former South African offspinner, has reacted strongly to reports saying that several players were not in favour of Ray Jennings remaining as South African coach. Symcox said that the players should not be given the authority to dictate the coach's selection, adding that the senior players have their own agenda and manipulate matters to suit them.

Speaking to a South African television station, Symcox revealed: "Go and look at the pattern since re-admission. Every coach of the South African team has been ousted by the players. It is usually the senior players who are behind this move. What can you do as coach when the players decide they have had enough of you and want to get rid of you? You are powerless."

According to reports, Jennings, who had received the support of Graeme Smith in his bid to be selected as full-time coach, was out-of-favour in the eyes of some players in the team. Jennings's tenure comes to an end after the Caribbean tour, beginning March 31, and while the methods he used haven't received support from all quarters, they have proved to be largely successful. His reapplication largely depended on the players' support, but some have focussed on his unconventional and at times controversial methods.

Symcox cautioned against too much power being given to the players. "It is usually also the players who decide who will take over, because that gives them bargaining power. That is why caution should be exercised not to give too much power to the players. They always have their own agendas and try to manipulate things to suit them."

The players have also drawn up a confidential report, which includes their opinions, and have handed it over to Errol Stewart, their representative, who is part of the panel of six to select the new coach.

Symcox added: "What will happen if Jennings wins the Test and one-day international series against the West Indies and perhaps even achieves a whitewash victory? How ridiculous will South African cricket look if the bosses decide to get rid of him?"