South Africa cricket July 23, 2008

Dropping Kallis the worst moment - Strydom

Ken Borland

Jacques Kallis was a surprise omission from South Africa's squad at the World Twenty20 © Getty Images

Joubert Strydom, who recently resigned as South Africa's chairman of selectors, has said dropping Jacques Kallis from the squad for the World Twenty20 last year was the worst moment in his four-year tenure as a selector.

The many highlights South African cricket have achieved over the last few years have overwhelmed the furious selection struggles he was embroiled in with Norman Arendse, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) president. The squad for the World Twenty20 was Strydom's first at the helm of the panel after Haroon Lorgat, the current ICC chief executive, stepped down and he said it was at Arendse's insistence that Kallis was left out.

"The whole Kallis thing was the worst, much worse than even [Charl] Langeveldt and [Andre] Nel," Strydom said. Nel was controversially dropped in favour of Langeveldt for South Africa's tour to India earlier this year; the latter then opted out of the tour and went on to sign a two-year Kolpak contract with Derbyshire.

CSA announced on Wednesday that Strydom was stepping down as the convenor of selectors "for personal and business reasons". And while Strydom is not blind to the many controversies that blighted his fraught tenure, he said his departure was on "own his own terms".

"I've been thinking about it for a while and there's no controversy or pressure involved," he said. "It's time I began focusing on my business in these uncertain economic times and my son is just about to go to boarding school, so that means we will be travelling more.

"And there's the issue of continuity - whether to step down now or wait until after the Australian tour. I decided now was the appropriate time because I think one or two other selectors are going to step down after the Aussie tour."

The regular battles to have teams approved by Arendse must be partially to blame for Strydom's departure, however, simply because they no longer made the job fun. "I wouldn't say it was the easiest job, it was more energy-sapping that time-consuming," he said. "But I don't want to go out on a bad note, I have too much respect for the game.

There is no doubt South African cricket has been well-served by Strydom, who was willing to stand up to Arendse, and he said his memories of the job would not be tainted by the unhappy times. "There was never enough fighting to take away the wonderful memories. I think I had a good stint, the team achieved some wonderful things. We will be second on the Test table if we win the series in England and we've been one or two in one-day internationals during my time. There was the '438' game and our win against Pakistan in Mohali in the Champions Trophy when we came from behind."

A new selection panel will be elected at the CSA annual meeting on August 8.

Ken Borland works for MWP media in South Africa