Time is not on Cricket South Africa’s side
JOHANNESBURG – Time is fast running out for Cricket South Africa to appoint a Director of Cricket, with the first Test against England now just five weeks away.
All the candidates who were interviewed for the post were told they could expect an answer from Cricket SA in “one to two weeks.” Those interviews took place on November 8, one week has already gone and this Friday, November 22, will represent two weeks.
Graeme Smith was one of those interviewed, but the former Proteas captain has already withdrawn his name from the process, explaining his frustration with a process, which in Smith’s case, dates back to the start of September when he was first approached about the position.
With seemingly their preferred candidate out of the running, Cricket South Africa have been left scrambling, not just to meet their own deadline, but also to provide some kind of clarity for the country’s players about the path going forward.
The Director of Cricket position has been set up as the central part of Cricket SA’s restructuring around the team which took place after the disappointing run at the World Cup. That person will have a number of responsibilities from ensuring the domestic structure works in such a way as to ensure that the Proteas are successful, that all the national teams are successful and that a strategy is developed for the 2023 men’s Cricket World Cup.
In the short term of course there is the England tour and specifically the appointment of a Head Coach/Team Director for the South African’s men’s team for that four match Test series that starts on Boxing Day at SuperSport Park.
“Just from the position of the team itself, the players will want clarity and to see some direction,” said former Test opener Stephen Cook.
“In my time as an international player, there was that distance between the administration and the players, but right now so many key positions in between aren’t filled and that just muddies the picture for the players.
“As a player you want some certainty and at the moment there will be a lot of chats in changerooms about what is going on and that is not healthy,” said Cook, who played 11 Tests from January 2016 until March 2017.
Current Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis had expressed similar sentiments when he returned from India following the Proteas’ disastrous showing in the three-match Test series there.
“The most important thing that needs to happen now is clarity and someone needs to make decisions. Director of Cricket first and then filter down through so everyone else can make decisions,” Du Plessis said on October 25.
Cook said the one positive at the moment was that at least all the likely candidates to play for the Proteas in that first Test, were playing at the moment, albeit in a T20 competition.
“The guys are spread around and playing, which is good. Even someone like Zubayr Hamza, who is not the (Mzansi Super League) is playing for Western Province (in the semi-professional three-day challenge).”@shockerhess