Victor Mpitsang touted to be new Proteas selection chief
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CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas fast bowler Victor Mpitsang is being heavily touted to be the new men’s national selection chief.
In a media briefing this week Cricket SA indicated they would be advertising a number of positions at the end of the month, namely the national women's coach and support staff, men's under-19 coach and support staff, South Africa A coach and chief medical officer and also, of course, the men’s convenor of selectors.
Linda Zondi currently occupies the post of independent selector, but has previously served two terms as the convenor of selectors from 2015 until the end of the ill-fated Cricket World Cup last year.
Zondi has confirmed that he will be applying for the new position. The 43-year-old’s initial tenure as convenor of selectors was particularly successful, with his vision of backing youth bearing fruit as he hand-picked the core of his successful 2014 ICC World Cup U-19-winning team for the Proteas.
Linda Zondi currently occupies the post of independent selector. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Promising talents such as the team’s captain Aiden Markram, fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo have all gone to become international regulars. Equally, Lungi Ngidi – another one of Zondi’s development products in his native KwaZulu-Natal – was handed a Proteas debut.
However, the Proteas' recent slide – while it can be attributed to many factors – has seen a period of indecisive selections, with the net being cast far and wide and in some cases players not being given sufficient opportunity to lay a claim for a permanent berth.
The handling of Lions batsman Reeza Hendricks is a case in point. Although Hendricks would be the first to admit that he has not sufficiently kicked on since striking a century on ODI debut in Pallekele in 2018, the stylish right-hander has been shoddily treated since narrowly missing out on last year’s World Cup squad.
Hashim Amla’s retirement post-World Cup was meant to open the door for Hendricks to receive greater opportunities, but the 30-year-old has played just three ODI’s and a single T20I since.
Independent Media understands that Cricket SA is hoping for Mpitsang to breathe fresh life into the selection panel, while at the same time having a similar understanding of the pipeline that serves the national team that Zondi possessed.
Mpitsang, who is the youngest player to ever represent the Proteas, is the current SA U-19 convenor of selectors.
Unfortunately, though, he does not boast Zondi’s track record with the Junior Proteas having bombed out of the ICC U-19 World Cup on home soil earlier this year.
Another leading candidate for the post is the former national selector Hussein Manack. The 51-year-old boasts vast experience, having served on the national selection committee from 2013 until 2019, after having first cut his teeth at Gauteng Cricket Union as the convenor of selectors.
Manack fell out of favour when the selection panel was disbanded under former chief executive Thabang Moroe after last year’s World Cup. He was also one of the frontrunners for the Director of Cricket post, but eventually lost out to former Proteas captain Graeme Smith.
The new convenor of selectors' first task will be to choose a squad for the limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka in June – if indeed it does actually go ahead due to the COVID-19 virus that is currently enveloping the globe.