Johannesburg - Discarded under-19 World Cup-winning coach Ray Jennings bears no grudges against his newly appointed successor but feels he still has so much more to offer.
“Cricket SA have the right to pick whoever they want for the job but they need to be fair to the person they appoint and to the person they let go,” Jennings told Sapa on Thursday.
After coaching the team for nine years, and leading them to the 2014 ICC Under-19 World Cup trophy, Jennings lost out to Lawrence Mahatlane, who was appointed as new head coach on Wednesday.
Jennings said his gripe was not about Mahatlane but about the way he had been treated.
“Lawrence is a good guy and I have no problem with his appointment. The issue to me is that I can't offer anything anymore. I'm so passionate about what I want to do, about achieving goals and growing players,” Jennings said.
“If he's the guy for the next 10 years, then why couldn't the two of us work together?”
After years of dedicated service to South African cricket, learning overnight he was redundant was unfair, Jennings said.
“I've got a huge amount of support from friends and colleagues but that doesn't change what has now happened,” he said.
“I remain as passionate as ever to the great game of cricket and I honestly believe that I can still be of much value, not only to South African cricket, but to world cricket.”
Jennings, who coached both the national academy side and the under-19s, said it came as a shock to him after meeting CSA in October last year.
“I was notified the day before our quarter-final match (in February) that the job would be split into two, and I needed to reapply.”
CSA said it could offer him a consulting job for 70 days a year and he would reflect on this option over the next few weeks.
Jennings took over the under-19s just before the 2006 world cup, where South Africa came 11th out of 14 teams and even lost to Nepal.
“When we got back, I said I couldn't operate like that so Max Jordaan (CSA's transformation and relationship manager) and I came up with a game plan and started to put procedures in place.”
In 2008, the SA under-19 team made it to the final where they lost by 12 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method) to Virat Kohli's Indian side in a rain-affected match.
After reaching the quarter-finals in 2010 and the semis in 2012, South Africa had a clear run in 2014, to win the trophy without losing a game.
With transformation being the hot topic of the day, Jennings felt he had made great strides and could not be faulted in that area.
“In the series against England three years ago, we had six black Africans in the team and we beat them.
“I've been very aware of the transformation goals and results, and we achieved them. We had four black Africans in the world cup team.”
Since 2008, Jennings had been grooming assistant coaches and various players in the structure.
Lions head coach Geoffrey Toyana spent two years working as Jennings' assistant coach, as did Enoch Nkwe, who was appointed as the Gauteng Strikers' head coach in 2013.
“I managed to grow players and coaches side by side so they could go out into the market and earn a living. Many people say it was one of the most successful and productive programs in CSA.”