Mickey Arthur's resignation January 26, 2010

Pressure from above led to Arthur departure

28

Mickey Arthur's resignation as South Africa's coach came in the wake of increasing pressure from administrators over what they saw as the under-performance of the national team.

Arthur quit in dramatic circumstances on Monday, reportedly following an "irreparable breakdown" in his relationship with Graeme Smith. But a source close to Cricket South Africa denied that a rift had developed between coach and captain.

"This is not a Graeme issue," the source told Cricinfo. "Graeme is not that powerful. It looks ugly because he has been through three coaches (Eric Simons, Ray Jennings and Arthur) and three convenors of selectors, but he is still a young captain."

Arthur also said his resignation had nothing to do with Smith. "This is not about Graeme," he told the Hindustan Times."I have absolutely no issues with Graeme. We had and have a very sound relationship. It will all come out in the press conference tomorrow, as he's flying down to keep me company."

Instead, it seems official reaction to South Africa's comparative lack of recent success forced Arthur's hand. The team won just one of the six Tests they played in 2009, and drew their home series against England this month.

"Arthur doesn't handle pressure well at all, and he is facing pressure from a few different sources on a few different issues," the source said. "The board is questioning him on the team's non-performance and on issues like transformation. Even though he has been getting frustrated with these questions, the timing of his resignation is strange."

However, Smith's vice-captain, Ashwell Prince, disagreed that South Africa had performed poorly with Arthur at the helm. "He's had five years in the job, and he's taken the team to the top in both the Test and one-day rankings," Prince told Cricinfo. "I wouldn't have thought he would be under pressure to resign."

Despite their consistently high one-day ranking, South Africa have failed to win ICC events and have instead earned a reputation as the most reliable chokers in the game. Prince took a different view. "South Africa haven't done as well as they would have liked in one-day and Twenty20 tournaments, but those events are tough to win," he said.

Whatever the reasons behind Arthur's resignation, a selection dispute doesn't seem to be among them. "I was very surprised," South Africa's selection chief and a former national coach himself, Mike Procter, told Cricinfo. "We had meetings last Tuesday, and there was no hint of anything like this. I didn't have a clue."

South Africa's Test and one-day squads for their imminent tour to India were announced last Monday. Neither squad contained the kind of shock selection that could force a resignation, and Procter said conflicts with Arthur were rare: "He was very good to work with from a selector's point of view. Obviously, we had the odd disagreement over selection, but that's normal."

Prince was equally bemused by Arthur's decision. "For me, it's quite a surprise," he said. "I will miss him, because the team operates like a family. Just the other day we all had Christmas lunch together, along with our wives and children."

Corrie van Zyl, a former South African assistant coach, will take the team to India in a caretaker capacity. The source denied that Vincent Barnes had, as has been reported, been sacked or had resigned as bowling coach.

Kepler Wessels, the former South African captain and Northamptonshire coach, is one of the contenders to replace Arthur in the long-term, as is the former England coach, Duncan Fletcher, who has served the team as a batting consultant in recent seasons. Arthur is reportedly hoping to further his career with an English county.

Telford Vice and Firdose Moonda are freelance cricket writers in South Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anon_gish on January 28, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    I think this is all just an elaborate ruse to find an excuse when SA lose the test series to India next month! ;-)

  • HOWZNOW on January 28, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    The selections have been very strange in 2009. Ashwell Prince always was so dependable and a classy test batsman in the middle order. He repeated fails as an opener, but the coach / selectors rigidly keep him in a position where he openly admits , he does not perform at his best. At the same time they rigidly persist with JP in the middle order, and for a year he has done nothing as a Test batsman. Harris has been seriously off form for some time. Graeme Swann was superb. Johan Botha is an excellent inclusion in the Test squad for India

  • morningstars on January 28, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Simple fact, South Africa, like any other professional team must win championships. Mickey is a good manager but the lack of trophies will always lead to a manager's sacking. Mickey had five years. The team needs a change of direction towards championships. We'll always be ranked in the top 3 anyway.

  • klempie on January 27, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    LOL.Welcome to South African sport.The Arthur/Smith combination took us from 6th in the world to number 1 and they have always shown a united front.Suggestions that there is a split were completely dispelled when watching them interact at the press conference.Yes,2009 was a bad year but we're still in the top 2-3 in the world.And if Arthur was the problem,why fire the selection committee as well?According to some sources "non-performance and slow transformation".Non-performance?SA DOMINATED England through the majority of the Test series and the squad that beat England and Aus away and drew in India is much the same right now so if anyone under performed it was the players.This leaves only the poorly veiled transformation issue which isn't even an issue since a large chunk of the team is coloured/Indian.Does no one else find it odd that this all happens the series after Ntini is dropped?The fact is that the ANC saw an oppportunity in a 1-1 draw and took it to clear out the furniture.

  • abufareed on January 27, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Well there is definitely a lot more than what Arthur is saying. It is time both the ex coach and the SA Cricket board come out clean and tell the world where they went wrong.SA Cricket is equally to be blamed for the Underperforming SA Cricket team.Another five years and someone else will be at the helm, and god knows if that coach will succed in winning the Cricket World Cup or for that matter the Champions trophy.I really wish one day SA could win the World Cup or Champions trophy but at the moment they are not looking good to win any of those.My suggestion is that make Mr Imtiaz Patel the CEO of SA Cricket and you will see miracles taking place...

  • Pablo123 on January 27, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    SA politics doing it's bit to ruin everything that is good again. I will not be surprised if this is a transformation issue. Ridiculous in a country that is 16 years into its so called democracy. If anyone should resign, it's the panel in the CSA, for they have not lived up to their transformation and development plans from years ago. There is not a single black player waiting in the ranks to be selected on merit for the test team. This is not Mickey's fault, I just wish the rest of the world would put pressure on SA's stupid committees to field the best team possible - always.

    Agreed that the last few years, they have been very close to the best 11 on the field, but recent developments could see a huge change in cricket SA as we know it, I just hope they know what they are doing or we could see SA being trounced by palookas.

  • gokaran on January 27, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    sOMETHGING FISHY IN THS STATE of CSA smells

    why was a has been like gibs selected for the India tour ahead of other promising and proven talents? something is not right with the selection panel!!!

    Please tell us about the new structure and process for the selction panel. Why cant the current panel be part of this process. Gerrie Majola you seem to be hiding something

  • mojojesus on January 27, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    As Mickey said- " All good things did come to an end ".... I fervently hope SA can rebound ....

  • paulantony on January 27, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Certainly tough times for SA Cricket, Mickey should have quit later, what with the very tough tour to India wih a SA coach coming up. Without Mickey the tour to India has become even tougher. Mickey advice would have been of great help to counter India's steady rise to the top. Now i can only hope that SA does well.

  • thirdmanboundary on January 27, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    SA risks going the way of Pakistan, who have always had tons of talent but keep getting derailed by administrators and politicians who sack players/captains/selection committees/coaches at the drop of the hat, even when the team is doing well. This thunderbolt will be tough on SA team spirit and player morale and risks undoing some of the gains of the england series--not least the discovery of that rarest of commodities, a world-class fast bowling pair at the peak of their powers. This team will have to be superhuman to hold itself together mentally in India.

  • Anon_gish on January 28, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    I think this is all just an elaborate ruse to find an excuse when SA lose the test series to India next month! ;-)

  • HOWZNOW on January 28, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    The selections have been very strange in 2009. Ashwell Prince always was so dependable and a classy test batsman in the middle order. He repeated fails as an opener, but the coach / selectors rigidly keep him in a position where he openly admits , he does not perform at his best. At the same time they rigidly persist with JP in the middle order, and for a year he has done nothing as a Test batsman. Harris has been seriously off form for some time. Graeme Swann was superb. Johan Botha is an excellent inclusion in the Test squad for India

  • morningstars on January 28, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Simple fact, South Africa, like any other professional team must win championships. Mickey is a good manager but the lack of trophies will always lead to a manager's sacking. Mickey had five years. The team needs a change of direction towards championships. We'll always be ranked in the top 3 anyway.

  • klempie on January 27, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    LOL.Welcome to South African sport.The Arthur/Smith combination took us from 6th in the world to number 1 and they have always shown a united front.Suggestions that there is a split were completely dispelled when watching them interact at the press conference.Yes,2009 was a bad year but we're still in the top 2-3 in the world.And if Arthur was the problem,why fire the selection committee as well?According to some sources "non-performance and slow transformation".Non-performance?SA DOMINATED England through the majority of the Test series and the squad that beat England and Aus away and drew in India is much the same right now so if anyone under performed it was the players.This leaves only the poorly veiled transformation issue which isn't even an issue since a large chunk of the team is coloured/Indian.Does no one else find it odd that this all happens the series after Ntini is dropped?The fact is that the ANC saw an oppportunity in a 1-1 draw and took it to clear out the furniture.

  • abufareed on January 27, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Well there is definitely a lot more than what Arthur is saying. It is time both the ex coach and the SA Cricket board come out clean and tell the world where they went wrong.SA Cricket is equally to be blamed for the Underperforming SA Cricket team.Another five years and someone else will be at the helm, and god knows if that coach will succed in winning the Cricket World Cup or for that matter the Champions trophy.I really wish one day SA could win the World Cup or Champions trophy but at the moment they are not looking good to win any of those.My suggestion is that make Mr Imtiaz Patel the CEO of SA Cricket and you will see miracles taking place...

  • Pablo123 on January 27, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    SA politics doing it's bit to ruin everything that is good again. I will not be surprised if this is a transformation issue. Ridiculous in a country that is 16 years into its so called democracy. If anyone should resign, it's the panel in the CSA, for they have not lived up to their transformation and development plans from years ago. There is not a single black player waiting in the ranks to be selected on merit for the test team. This is not Mickey's fault, I just wish the rest of the world would put pressure on SA's stupid committees to field the best team possible - always.

    Agreed that the last few years, they have been very close to the best 11 on the field, but recent developments could see a huge change in cricket SA as we know it, I just hope they know what they are doing or we could see SA being trounced by palookas.

  • gokaran on January 27, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    sOMETHGING FISHY IN THS STATE of CSA smells

    why was a has been like gibs selected for the India tour ahead of other promising and proven talents? something is not right with the selection panel!!!

    Please tell us about the new structure and process for the selction panel. Why cant the current panel be part of this process. Gerrie Majola you seem to be hiding something

  • mojojesus on January 27, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    As Mickey said- " All good things did come to an end ".... I fervently hope SA can rebound ....

  • paulantony on January 27, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Certainly tough times for SA Cricket, Mickey should have quit later, what with the very tough tour to India wih a SA coach coming up. Without Mickey the tour to India has become even tougher. Mickey advice would have been of great help to counter India's steady rise to the top. Now i can only hope that SA does well.

  • thirdmanboundary on January 27, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    SA risks going the way of Pakistan, who have always had tons of talent but keep getting derailed by administrators and politicians who sack players/captains/selection committees/coaches at the drop of the hat, even when the team is doing well. This thunderbolt will be tough on SA team spirit and player morale and risks undoing some of the gains of the england series--not least the discovery of that rarest of commodities, a world-class fast bowling pair at the peak of their powers. This team will have to be superhuman to hold itself together mentally in India.

  • Nordic on January 27, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Kepler doesn't want the job. Went public in the paper today saying that the SA coaching job is not something he covets.

  • Shafaet on January 27, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Botha for captain? Come on, Smith is the most inspirational figure in the team and he is leading by example.

  • SuperSharky on January 27, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Good to hear it's not just a Graeme Smith issue. Otherwise it did look bad on his record. Going through 3 coaches and not to mention how he got rid of Lance Klusener. Next to go, I think, is Graeme Smiths captaincy. We also need fresh ideas on how to use Paul Harris, fielding placements, bowl changes and a better speaker for the media. Johan Botha did a great job in Australia with the limited overs. We still need Graeme Smith in the team , cause his one damn good batsman. Bring on Clive Rice, his tough enough to last a year. Maybe two. But then again I thought Jennings were tougher.

  • boet613 on January 27, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Something seems to be amiss here !! 3 coaches, a young cockey captain who, if it werent for being the Captain would not have a guaranteed place in the team, only a few sterling performances like his 188 reminding us of his prowess but other than that his performance has been rather dismall and not worthy of a captain !!! His skills as a captain leave alot to be desired....for us (South Africa) to have lost the second test to England (and thus the Series) was only the Captains fault, we can blame the bowlers all we want, we can commend England all we want, but ultimately the blame, or the credit (if you support England) lies entirely with Captain my Captain, Graeme Smith. Whoever recommended CLIVE RICE, I am in total agreement. As a player he was the ultimate all-rounder and himself was an amazing Captain and tactician of the game.....Kepler will not be bad either...but Rice is my man....as he will be able to reign in the unruly Smith

  • Seligs on January 27, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    So if CSA are going to transform SA cricket, especially since Prince, Ntini, Duminy are all out of form, this could be fun. I'm sure Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons and the rest of their SA team coaching India are licking their lips.

    Only one coach we need, he will kick them all into shape. Bring us CLIVE RICE!!

  • RDLikesCricket on January 27, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    Not good for SA Cricket with the Coach and the Selection committee going out just before a big series against India. They are a competitive side with some exciting players. Such events bring in unwanted attention. Mickey seemed to be a decent coach and was able to work well with Smith. Yet another coach, new techniques etc... well guys give the poor coach a good run... Good Luck RSA Cricket, Good Luck Mickey..

  • Tinker-Bell on January 27, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    This story seems to be what one expects in South African sporting bodies. Here we have two personalities who have worked as a team to get South Africa to the top of world cricket in both the 1 Day and Test Match formats ( 1st time ever!!) and they break up the team. I have my own suspicions as to the reasons, but if I were a young cricketer bordering on being selected for RSA, I would really have to think whether it might be wiser to look at trying to represent some other Country e.g. KP and Trott etc.

    Lets wait and see what the broadcast reveals as to the real truth. Tinker-Bell

  • Danielson on January 27, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Well, its just come out on the news that the WHOLE selectors panel including Mike Procter has been fired... Procter recevied a call from Majola to say his services were no longer required. It's come out that the only issue on the tabel is transformation. Nothing else...

  • Kafflutt on January 27, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    I'm holding thumbs and doing a rain dance for a Kepler/Graeme in charge of the Proteas!

  • EBA_1 on January 27, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Thank the Lord, finally Mickey is gone! I have waited for this moment for a long wile. The fact that the Vince Barnes has gone as well is great. These two have been living of the glory of the previous guys. Now all that is left is to get G.Smith of as captain. The power he has, has gone to his head. If you look at what Johan Botha did in Australia as captain it is clear that he is better at the job.

    The SAD news is that they are considering Keppler as Mickeys replacement. UCB please learn from the Jumbo's mistake. Check the reports of how many players left the Jumbo's in the time Wessels was there. When Keppler took over EP it was the first time in 4 years that EP did not make it to the semi-finals of the domestic limited overs series. I will start supporting Bangladesh and India if Keppler takes over.

  • Seligs on January 27, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Just heard on radio 702 in Johannesburg that the Selection committee of Cricket South Africa have been sacked with immediate effect.

  • SpiritoCricket on January 27, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher to replace Mickey Arthur? Duncan Fletcher was a less than spectacular coach with a win loss record with England in all forms of the game as follows 279 matches 123wins 122losses 2 ties 25 draws 7 no result. Mickey Arthur from 174 Matches 107 wins 57 losses 0 ties 7 Draws and 3 No results.

    Duncan Fletcher did not coach England to no.1 ranking in the world, did not win a test series in Australia ( lost 4-1 and 5-0) his tactics of taking his bowlers off the ground to have a rub down and view their previous spell under the guise of going to the toilet was very unsporting. His ubiquitous self promotion was unwarranted considering his meager achievements. Fletcher won a champions trophy with England and reclaimed the Ashes 2-1 in 2005 but coached England to a disasterous 5-0 loss 14 months later and dumped on his players in his several Autobiographies. South Africa should not have dumped Arthur and will miss him.

  • Notout_Naveen on January 26, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    There seems to be something fishy, I remember him talking about India series with lot of enthu & he was up for the challenge.So quite obivously he was forced to quit.

  • Tjoeps on January 26, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    I think this is tipically of the state of afairs in jolly old RSA, political forces at work in sport, where we don't need them. OK, 2009 was not a good year for the team, but there are reasons, the return tour of Australia was a major disapointment, losing the way we did in the 20/20 WC was just as bad. Not even getting to the starting line as far as the ICC championships in our own country was unforgiving. To tackle England with a bouling attack that was running at 50% fitness was a joke, but does that blame goes only to Mickey? I don't think so. Somehow this team cannot proccess presure on the field, they go on to the picth with plan A, and come hell or high water, that is the plan, no matter what goes wrong, we play plan A. I wish Mickey the very best, I was not happy with his original selection as coach, but he did a grand job in the end, God speed, Mickey!

  • gregsmithsays on January 26, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    The elephant in corner nobody is talking about is still Makhaya Ntini ! The perception that Arthur forced his hand on early retirement sounds a more valid reason for his forced resignation - The question is... did Ntini phone in his CSA buddies to give Mickey the shove ?

  • mali_jr on January 26, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    I wouldn't be surprised if he announces his ties with some IPL franchise soon.

  • venkatSan on January 26, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    He is heading to New Zealand!!!!

  • Dinker-cktlover on January 26, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    i am a cricket follower from India..and i can say impartially this is yet another instance of a professional being chucked out by administrators or board or whatever they call themselves.SA has beaten Aus in Australia,have been the best team in test circuit in the recent times..(for all My Indian friends India IS NOT-- latest proof being today's bowling against Bangladesh)They may not have been the all conquering bullies like Aus of the yester years..BUT there is no such team right now..SA have done really well under Smith-Micky axis.I still remember how i wondered back in2004 why they made him the skipper when his captaincy CV was not old enough.the strides SA team has made since 2004 are surely due to a great contribution from Mickey ..SA may not have won any world ODI champiionships but that could ahve been resolved...Now at the 11th hour before the India tour this was totally uncalled for and definitely not a progressive step

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  • Dinker-cktlover on January 26, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    i am a cricket follower from India..and i can say impartially this is yet another instance of a professional being chucked out by administrators or board or whatever they call themselves.SA has beaten Aus in Australia,have been the best team in test circuit in the recent times..(for all My Indian friends India IS NOT-- latest proof being today's bowling against Bangladesh)They may not have been the all conquering bullies like Aus of the yester years..BUT there is no such team right now..SA have done really well under Smith-Micky axis.I still remember how i wondered back in2004 why they made him the skipper when his captaincy CV was not old enough.the strides SA team has made since 2004 are surely due to a great contribution from Mickey ..SA may not have won any world ODI champiionships but that could ahve been resolved...Now at the 11th hour before the India tour this was totally uncalled for and definitely not a progressive step

  • venkatSan on January 26, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    He is heading to New Zealand!!!!

  • mali_jr on January 26, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    I wouldn't be surprised if he announces his ties with some IPL franchise soon.

  • gregsmithsays on January 26, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    The elephant in corner nobody is talking about is still Makhaya Ntini ! The perception that Arthur forced his hand on early retirement sounds a more valid reason for his forced resignation - The question is... did Ntini phone in his CSA buddies to give Mickey the shove ?

  • Tjoeps on January 26, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    I think this is tipically of the state of afairs in jolly old RSA, political forces at work in sport, where we don't need them. OK, 2009 was not a good year for the team, but there are reasons, the return tour of Australia was a major disapointment, losing the way we did in the 20/20 WC was just as bad. Not even getting to the starting line as far as the ICC championships in our own country was unforgiving. To tackle England with a bouling attack that was running at 50% fitness was a joke, but does that blame goes only to Mickey? I don't think so. Somehow this team cannot proccess presure on the field, they go on to the picth with plan A, and come hell or high water, that is the plan, no matter what goes wrong, we play plan A. I wish Mickey the very best, I was not happy with his original selection as coach, but he did a grand job in the end, God speed, Mickey!

  • Notout_Naveen on January 26, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    There seems to be something fishy, I remember him talking about India series with lot of enthu & he was up for the challenge.So quite obivously he was forced to quit.

  • SpiritoCricket on January 27, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher to replace Mickey Arthur? Duncan Fletcher was a less than spectacular coach with a win loss record with England in all forms of the game as follows 279 matches 123wins 122losses 2 ties 25 draws 7 no result. Mickey Arthur from 174 Matches 107 wins 57 losses 0 ties 7 Draws and 3 No results.

    Duncan Fletcher did not coach England to no.1 ranking in the world, did not win a test series in Australia ( lost 4-1 and 5-0) his tactics of taking his bowlers off the ground to have a rub down and view their previous spell under the guise of going to the toilet was very unsporting. His ubiquitous self promotion was unwarranted considering his meager achievements. Fletcher won a champions trophy with England and reclaimed the Ashes 2-1 in 2005 but coached England to a disasterous 5-0 loss 14 months later and dumped on his players in his several Autobiographies. South Africa should not have dumped Arthur and will miss him.

  • Seligs on January 27, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Just heard on radio 702 in Johannesburg that the Selection committee of Cricket South Africa have been sacked with immediate effect.

  • EBA_1 on January 27, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Thank the Lord, finally Mickey is gone! I have waited for this moment for a long wile. The fact that the Vince Barnes has gone as well is great. These two have been living of the glory of the previous guys. Now all that is left is to get G.Smith of as captain. The power he has, has gone to his head. If you look at what Johan Botha did in Australia as captain it is clear that he is better at the job.

    The SAD news is that they are considering Keppler as Mickeys replacement. UCB please learn from the Jumbo's mistake. Check the reports of how many players left the Jumbo's in the time Wessels was there. When Keppler took over EP it was the first time in 4 years that EP did not make it to the semi-finals of the domestic limited overs series. I will start supporting Bangladesh and India if Keppler takes over.

  • Kafflutt on January 27, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    I'm holding thumbs and doing a rain dance for a Kepler/Graeme in charge of the Proteas!