Just when South African cricket looked like it was recovering from the many set backs from last year, another bombshell has hit. This time there will be casualties. There is unlikely to be any final warnings, something has to give.
Norman Arendse is the president of Cricket South Africa and he refused to approve the selectors decision over the 14 man squad for the tour to Bangladesh. “ If two of the players selected for Bangladesh are not fit and will undergo fitness tests on Monday, why don’t we wait until Monday before we announce the squad?” Arendse said, referring to Neil McKenzie and Andre Nel. This is a fair and valid point put across by the president. However he went on to state: “My role is to ensure that the CSA transformation policy is complied with.” This is where it all got messy.
Mickey Arthur’s reply to the above was: “As a coach and a selector I share Norman’s determination to push the transformation agenda but, at the same time, I want to be able to look every player in the eye and tell him: I believe you’re the best player for this position.” One wonders which team Mickey Arthur has been coaching as the team that he is in charge of regularly has players that the majority of SA will say are not the best players in that position. This statement can easily be backed up by statistics as can be seen here.
As the day progressed it came to light that Arendse had laid charges against Arthur accusing him of being “abusive and disrespectful” and “cocking a snook at his employers’ policy of (racial) transformation.” A bit later on in the day Arthur laid a counter-charge of “disrespectful and abusive behaviour” against Arendse, stating “I have no problem with transformation and I am very willing to work for transformation, however, seven players of colour in a squad of 14 is a target and not a policy.” To top off what is more than likely his last roll of the dice Arthur stated “We have sent the same squad to him (Arendse) for approval, the ball is now in his court.”
If his foot was in the proverbial grave, he certainly wasn’t scared of going 6 foot under when he indicated “Yes, there is animosity between us. I told him he was power-crazy and egotistical but I never swore at him. I can say now that he regularly sends back teams” stated Arthur which might have been to confirm the allegations that Arendse was responsible for the dropping of Kallis and Hall in the Twenty20 tournament mentioned here.
There are few people that have taken of the administration and won. Arthur has jumped on that boat and if any players want to be on board, they must be prepared for the worst, there is no fairy tale ending where the administration backs down and the good guys win.
The real solution would have been to take a side focused on transformation to Bangladesh and a more experienced side to India. It might not be the ideal solution but it would have saved Arthur the DCM (Don’t Come Monday) letter which might be in the post already.
There are various reasons that contributed to the downfall of the SA side in the Twenty20 championships. The make up of the squad is a very important aspect of this. Loots Bosman was injured just before the start of the championships and even though he expressed his desire to play the coach indicated he was unfit to play. He is now facing a disciplinary hearing after stating “I am sick of lies, I am very, very disappointed … Mickey tells too many lies.” His physiotherapist said he was fine to play yet CSA ruled him out, costing him R250 000 in lost earnings.
The replacement for Bosman would logically be another specialist batsman, however the selectors had a different idea and believed that another bowler would be the solution thus Andre Nel was selected in his place. This reduced the side of an opening batsman as the Coach Mickey Arthur indicated he had every intention of playing him in this role.
Jacques Kallis can have a good giggle to himself that is if he can stifle a smile about missing out on R250 000 of his salary for being a batsman that scores too slowly. Especially when a side requiring 126 cant even muster a run a ball in the Pro20 format when it counted. The only player to score more than a run a balls was Ntini, who looked a lot better out there than the man who effectively replaced Jacques Kallis – Johan van der Wath who made a single off 6 balls when there was still a chance of the total being reached.
The new selection panel have got off to a shocking start with egg on their faces after their decision to drop Kallis has backfired horribly. Without focusing on his batting ability Kallis has featured as a top international bowler for South Africa. In addition he has years of experience, something you can’t buy with your fish and chips.
The poor vision of the selectors is a worry. There is no reason why Kallis couldn’t have come in at 4 if there was a batting collapse like SA had and if they got off to a flyer he could have been pushed down the order.
The biggest question is what did the see Johan van der Wath doing that Kallis couldn’t have done?? Van der Wath is a good cricketer and deserved the chance to play international cricket but to take the place of Jacques Kallis in the squad seemed ridiculous at the time of selection and was proven in the series.
The captain of South Africa has transformed from a boy with high ambitions to succeed into a man who cant lead from the front. He is a great player but his bark has been worse than his bite for a long time now. The coach and captain seem to share a very close relationship to the point where a conflict of interest seems to be arising and will ultimately lead to an untenable relationship.
The time for a change in the setup of SA cricket is upon us…
South Africa have been embarrassed in the final group match of the inaugural Twenty20 championships. Eric Simons might have an ironic smile on his face as this defeat brings back memories of the heartbreaking 2003 exit.
After the 2003 debacle, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and Pat Symcox stood down as a selector. In this instance the stakes aren’t as high as this format of the game doesn’t hold as much weight in the eyes of cricketers and the fans in comparison to the other formats.
South Africa have only themselves to blame. At the interval there is no doubt in my mind that the coach and captain would have been aware of the minimum required to get to the semi-final. The all important figure was 126 off 120 balls, by no means a tough ask, yet if you watched the match you would have thought differently.
South Africa started off badly with the three specialist batsmen in the squad sent packing with twelve runs on the board. This brought the all rounders to rescue the game and at this stage it should be stressed that 126 would have been the victory target although it didn’t seem the case.
Boucher and Morkel rescued the side from a disgusting 31/5 to take them closer to qualifying before Boucher was dismissed. This left SA needing 26 runs off 20 balls and 4 wickets in hand to qualify. Whilst this isn’t the easiest task it certainly was obtainable yet they managed 16 runs, 4 of which were to Ntini the only batsman to score faster than a run a ball.
It was a pathetic display from the Proteas, who now are firmly in the driving seat as a nation of chokers in the important games. There is nothing more to say about this the guys weren’t good enough and it certainly isn’t in the talent department, SA have some of the most talented players in the world. The mindset is all wrong, and this needs to be addressed quickly. There is a saying that the rot starts from the top, is this true about SA cricket??