Archie Henderson

How will cricket bosses react?

2007-04-30 17:41

Archie Henderson

Around the cricket world the fallout from the 2007 World Cup began long before Australia wrapped up the formalities of winning the thing again.

Greg Chappell left under a cloud from the Indian team. He was the most high profile of the departing coaches: Tom Moody has quit Sri Lanka; Dav Whatmore has left Bangladesh in the hope of succeeding Chappell; Bennett King resigned from the West Indies job before he was pushed, as was England's Duncan Fletcher; John Bracewell has been under pressure to give up the New Zealand position although Stephen Fleming has urged him to stay; and even John Buchanan stepped aside for Tim Nielsen in the triumphant Australian camp. Bob Woolmer was due to leave Pakistan before he was murdered.

Captains have gone too: Brian Lara gave up one last tour to England to resign after the West Indies' dismal home World Cup and New Zealand's Fleming has given up on leading the one-day side. Michael Vaughan's position with England is some doubt and Rahul Dravid will be under pressure and scrutiny for the next few months.

Every one of the Test-playing nations so ruthlessly put to sword by the Australians will be doing much soul-searching, but only South Africa, it seems, will remain unscathed.

A foolish decision

The chief executive of Cricket South Africa has stated that neither skipper Graeme Smith nor coach Mickey Arthur will be sacked.

This is in contrast with 1999 when the establishment conspired to get rid of Woolmer, a foolish decision for which no one of them has yet expressed regret.

Instead we have at least two remnants of that team, Jonty Rhodes and Allan Donald, regularly expressing admiration for the crooked Hansie Cronje, who was captain and who was one of the conspirators.

Rhodes emerged at the weekend in a similar role: defending Smith and Arthur against "political interference" and the alleged lack of support from the cricket bosses.

In a selective interview, Rhodes expressed grave misgivings about the selection of the side and the back-up which he believes was missing.

Strong implication

He said South Africa had not picked their 15 best players, Smith always had to satisfy outside influences and the captain was unable to challenge such interference.

There was a strong implication that selection chief Haroon Lorgat was not supportive and that the weakness of the team was a result of affirmative action.

Considering that Rhodes was part of the inner circle of the team and that he recently represented the team sponsors, these are serious criticisms. Although Smith has quickly distanced himself from some of those, it will be interesting to watch the reaction of the South African cricket hierarchy.

Rhodes, of course, is right on some issues: it was not the best 15, and we could have told him that before the team sailed. But it had little to do with transformation. Loots Bosman and Roger Telemachus were illogical selections, but so was that of Justin Kemp - as it proved.

It's hard to believe that Rhodes's extreme views do not reflect at least some thinking at the core of the team - and this is what should be of concern to the cricket bosses.

  • Archie Henderson is a former Cape Argus sports editor.

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