Eric Simons, South Africa's coach, is seriously considering giving up his job. Upset with the performance of his team in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka, Simons has decided to assess his position at the end of the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
"If I get to the end of the ICC and I feel it's not working, then I must go," he is quoted as saying after South Africa were handed a 313-run thrashing in the second Test in Colombo. Simons stood by his assessment that their performance was "gutless", according to South Africa's Sunday Times: "I don't usually shout and scream but I did after this one. In sport you win some and lose some, but to capitulate the way we did is unacceptable."
Simons recently had his two-year contract with South Africa's United Cricket Board extended by a year, but said he was under no illusions about his position. "I've said all along that I'm examining myself as well. There is only so much a coach can do, and if someone else can do a better job they must get the chance.
"We came away from Galle really pleased. I thought we had turned a real corner there," said Simons, who conceded that his side was a young one and still developing at the highest level. "I'm not using them as excuses, because the South Africa A side would have put up a better performance, but we've got a very young top six. Just Herschelle [Gibbs] and Jacques [Kallis] have a lot of experience. Even Graeme Smith, the captain, is young."
Simons also defended the role his support staff have played. "As a management team we're giving it our best shot ... we're giving the players a lot of information, direction and advice. We ask ourselves all the time, if we could roll the clock back what would we do different. There's not an awful lot. Especially after a performance like Galle, where we played really well on a spinners' track, Colombo was doubly frustrating."
And finally, Simons laid down the law. "We are a young side, a learning side, but the one thing that is controllable is guts and determination."