Majola attacks mental weaknesses, appoints team manager

Smith and Arthur stay for two more years

Cricinfo staff

May 10, 2007

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Mickey Arthur has kept his job in spits of the torrent of criticism since the World Cup © Getty Images
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Mickey Arthur and Graeme Smith, the South Africa coach and captain, have had their contracts renewed by the South Africa board today for a further two years.

Since returning from the World Cup in the Caribbean, following their disappointing semi-final against Australia, the criticism aimed at the coach has been unrelenting, but the board have put their faith in him.

"The board wants to keep building morale so that we can get the Proteas where we want them to be - the best in the world," Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, said. "We believe that Graeme and Mickey can do the job at hand. Mickey presented his World Cup report to the board today, and we all agreed that the reasons behind the inconsistent performances of the Proteas needed to be addressed."

But Majola has stirred up the debate surrounding South Africa's apparent mental weaknesses, an argument which many feel is the underlying problem of the team's inability to beat Australia consistently. Especially in World Cups. To that end, the new role of team manager has been created.

"Among these reasons are a lack of maturity among some senior players," Majola said, "and a lack of the consistent mental toughness that is needed to take the Proteas successfully through an arduous World Cup. The board decided that among the measures to be taken will be the appointment of a team manager, in addition to the logistics manager.

"We are going to draw up a profile and job description and then make the appointment as soon as possible," he said. "The team manager must provide leadership qualities that will enhance the team and assist the captain and coach on matters such as mental toughness, discipline and public affairs."

A Cricket South Africa spokesman told Cricinfo that Smith's role as captain "was more than just a job" and that his responsibilities off the field created an added burden. The role of team manager is aimed at alleviating some of those pressures

Majola said South Africa would now starting building for the future. "We will begin work immediately on planning for the next two seasons which includes the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September and the series next year against England and Australia.

"We will also be continuing our efforts to build maturity in our emerging players, so that they fully understand both the rigours and the ethos of the international game."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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