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Former SA coach Arthur claims Ntini betrayal

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 6, 2010

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Mickey Arthur strolls around Supersport Park with his pen and notepad, Centurion, September 21, 2009
Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur felt Makhaya Ntini should not have complained to Cricket South Africa officials about being dropped © AFP
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Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, has accused former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini of stabbing him in the back in his autobiography, but says he still has a lot of respect for him. The book, which will be released on Monday and is titled Taking the Mickey - The Inside Story, claims that Ntini betrayed Arthur by complaining to senior administrators after he was dropped from the team, according to IOLsport.

Arthur alleges that Ntini did not handle being dropped well and took the issue to some of the country's senior cricket administrators, including Cricket South Africa President Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka and former president Ray Mali, which Arthur considered a big letdown. "It was disappointing at the back end of my time that he let us down by running to administrators, but I suppose he was insecure," Arthur told ESPNcricinfo.

Ntini was dropped from the one-day international side at the start of the 2008/9 season. In the book, Arthur says the incident caused him to see a side of Ntini he didn't know, and as a consequence he, "lost a bit of respect for him." He has since added to that comment, saying, "I still have the utmost respect for him and that is reflected in my book. He still is a huge role model in SA cricket, and there are passages in the book where I am very positive about him."

Arthur's memoir is far more critical of Nyoka, whom he called a "gutless interferer." According to Arthur, he had a breakfast meeting with Nyoka, Mali and Ntini in 2008, where Nyoka apologised to Ntini for his absence from the one-day side and apparently guaranteed him a place in place in the national team for the following series against Australia. So that was it," Arthur writes. "Makhaya would be selected for the one-day squad for Australia, no matter what the coach or the selectors felt was appropriate."

Nyoka and another former CSA president Norman Arendse were vocal about the need for a black African player in the national team and almost caused a player boycott in 2008. Nyoka also criticised Arthur's team selection in January, when there were no black, African players chosen to play the third Test against England. Ntini was dropped for that Test, and South African news services reported that he had accused Arthur and captain Graeme Smith of not wanting black players in the national team. Both insisted that Ntini was not included in the squad to face England in Cape Town because of poor form.

Ntini would not play for South Africa again and announced his retirement earlier this week. He will be given a farewell during the Twenty20 international between South Africa and India at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on January 9, when he will make his final appearance for South Africa.

Arthur resigned after the England series, saying that that he had a different vision to that of the administrators, but it was widely speculated that he was quitting because of interference in team selection.

Arthur was a surprise choice for coach of the national team in 2004. Under him, South Africa won away Test series in England and Australia for the first time since readmission, and were ranked number one in both Tests and ODIs, although they did not win an ICC trophy. Arthur has since moved to Perth, where he coaches Western Australia.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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