Smith and Arthur get two more years
The South African Cricket board have renewed the contracts of coach Arthur and Graeme Smith for a further two years as coach and captain respectively. After returning from the World Cup under a cloud of criticism, more to do with the nature of their semi final defeat to eventual champions Australia, and defeats to Bangladesh and New Zealand, then to not winning the tournament they fancied themselves to, the board have decided to resist cries for change, and stick with the duo. They feel that trust needs to be given and rewarded in team that they feel has the ability and know how to take South Africa to the number one spot in world cricket. However, with respect to the idea that the team are not mentally tough enough to cope with the challenge of beating Australia on a consistent basis and therefore being able to realistically challenge for honours such as the World Cup, the board has created a role for a team manager. The criteria and profile that the team manager is to fill have yet to be finalised, but will be drawn up soon, with the position to be filled thereafter. It is believed that the role will attempt to relieve the off the field burden and pressures that Smith has been saddled with as captain. Leadership qualities will be foremost in the mindset of the candidate the board are looking for. This will hopefully help bring the South Africans a step closer to realising their ambitions of becoming the worlds best cricket team, and with the next two years featuring the 20/20 World Cup, tours to England and Australia, they will have plenty of opportunities to show how far they’ve come.
Jennings says no to Bangladesh
Ray Jennings, who served as coach of South Africa on a temporary basis before the appointment of Mickey Arthur, has turned down the opportunity to coach Bangladesh. He was approached by the Bangladesh Cricket Board as they search for a replacement for Doug Whatmore, who leaves his post after the current series with India. Jennings, although flattered and thankful of being asked, said he was to much of a proud South African to take the job of coaching any other International cricket team. He is currently working with the South African Cricket Board, helping to develop the best under 19 players in the country.
Smith and Pollock to have Surgery
Graeme Smith is to have surgery on cartilage damage to his knee, while Pollock will under go surgery on a small growth in this left foot. Both will be fit in time for the matches against India and Ireland in Belfast at the end of June, but may struggle to make the Afro-Asia series before that. Pollock has said that although the surgery is minor, if he did travel for the Afro-Asia series, it would be as a batsman and not as an all rounder.
Pollock Cricketer of the Year
Shaun Pollock was named South African Cricketer of the Year after a successful year in both forms of the game, particularly in the home series against India and Pakistan. Some of the other award winners were; Makhaya Ntini – Fans Player of the Year, Jaques Kallis – ODI Cricketer of the Year, Ashwell Prince – Test Cricketer of the Year, Mark Boucher – Players Player of the Year, and Paul Harris – Newcomer of the Year.