Quota row leaves Arthur's job under threat
South African cricket is on the edge of a crisis with coach Mickey Arthur facing the sack after a row erupted over transformation quotas for the Bangladesh tour.
Arthur is part of a selection panel that picked a squad for the Bangladesh tour which included only four coloured players despite CSA guidelines saying there should be seven. The announcement was delayed as hurried discussions took place.
After Norman Arendse, president of CSA, laid formal charges against Arthur and told the Cape Argus that he was being "disrespectful" and "abusive" while adding he was "cocking a snook at his employers' policy of transformation", Arthur hit back by filing a counter-complaint with the board.
"This has reached ridiculous proportions," Arthur told the Sapa news agency. "I've laid a counter charge against him, because he was just as abusive to me as I was to him."
Earlier, Arendse had urged the coach to fall in line with CSA transformation policy. "If a coach says, 'There's no transformation policy' (among selectors), if he says, 'Sorry, I'm not prepared to implement Cricket South Africa's policies', then his position is untenable."
After laying the charge against Arendse, Arthur said, "I have no problem with transformation and I am very willing to work for transformation. However, seven players of colour in a squad of 14 is a target and not a policy."
The situation has arisen after Arendse questioned the make-up of the squad for Bangladesh, with earlier reports saying he wanted Herschelle Gibbs and Monde Zondeki to be included. There have been suggestions that Graeme Smith has considered resigning a players strike is in prospect.
Arthur rejected reports that he was threatening to resign and said: "There was nothing that drastic ... but the selection panel were very disappointed that we were asked to alter the squad."
However, he did say Thursday was "a crucial day" and hinted at further action if the squad isn't passed. "Anything could happen in terms of the composition of the squad. I haven't thought about what course of action I would take if our squad isn't ratified.
Tony Irish, CEO of the South African Cricketers' Association, said: "The players are not involved in selection, nor should they be. However they believe strongly in the need for integrity in the process.
"In a team sport such as cricket selection is probably the most important factor. The team has yet to be finalised so it is not for us to comment further at this stage. For the sake of the integrity of the process however, this issue needs to be finalised quickly."
Arendse added that his role was to make sure the transformation policy was working when squads were selected but said Arthur hadn't wanted to entertain the notion.
"The more I was asking questions about transformation, the more he (Arthur) said they did not have a transformation policy," Arendse said. "He questioned the fact that I was even asking questions and holding him to account."