South Africa news January 27, 2010

South Africa selection panel sacked

Cricinfo staff

A day after Mickey Arthur's resignation as national coach, South Africa's selection panel has also been sacked by the board. Mike Procter, the chairman of selectors, confirmed the development to a local radio station in Johannesburg.

Procter told Talk Radio 702 that Cricket South Africa had fired the entire selection panel, which included Craig Matthews, Winky Ximiya and Mustapha Khan, and an interim one would be appointed to serve until February 19. "It came as a huge shock to us all," Procter said. He added that only CSA would be able to confirm if the developments were linked to the transformation issue.

"I had a phone call early yesterday evening, Gerald Majola informing me that this selection panel would not be required in future," Procter told eNews, a South African news channel. "Everyone was told that this was going to be a talk after the series. We were just going to make some presentations. They weren't going to come after anyone. It wasn't going to be a witch hunt.

"I think we had too short a time in the business, as selectors we always gave our own thoughts, we never ended up voting on issues, we talked around issues, we enjoyed each others company and I think we were doing pretty well. The time we had was too short but we did introduce some new players."

Matthews, a member of the selection panel, said he understood that Majola would head the interim panel until a new one was put in place. "The way I understand it, there will be an interim selection panel and Gerald will be the convenor of selectors until a new panel has been picked," he told Cricinfo. "We weren't given any reason for the decision [sacking]. All that was said was that the board felt the selection process was flawed and that they want to restructure it.

"It might be a transformation issue, but they didn't give us any reasons, all they said was that the process needs to be reworked. I have been part of South African cricket for many years, nothing really surprises me anymore."

The sacked panel took over as selectors in December 2008, just before the historic series victory in Australia which put South Africa on top of both the Test and the ODI rankings. Results went downhill after that, losing the return Test series against Australia and only managing to draw the home series against England which ended earlier this month. Between those two assignments were the loss in the World Twenty20 semi-finals and the embarrassingly early exit in the ICC Champions Trophy they hosted. The panel's tenure was supposed to be till the 2011 World Cup, the same as Arthur's.