Proteas coach Mickey Arthur has resigned with immediate effect, and Cricket South Africa (CSA) high-performance manager Corrie van Zyl is confirmed as the interim coach, CSA said on Wednesday.
The announcement was made at a media conference in East London attended by Arthur, CSA CEO Gerald Majola, Proteas captain Graeme Smith, Van Zyl, and Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.
It was also announced that as part of the restructuring process, members of the national selection committee had been fired and would be replaced by Gerald Majola (convenor), a former member of the national selection panel, Van Zyl and former Proteas captain Kepler Wessels.
Majola said: “It is with much regret that the board of directors of Cricket South Africa has accepted Mickey Arthur’s resignation as the Proteas’ coach.
“His resignation came through the normal stock-taking process that followed the England home series and against the backdrop of the disappointing results of 2009.
“As this process unfolded and remedies were sought, Mickey expressed the very honest and humble view that he did not believe that at this stage he could continue as coach of the Proteas.
“In the circumstances, he tendered his resignation and it is with much regret that the CSA board accepted it.”
“The board wishes to thank Mickey for his great contribution to the advancement of the Proteas, to the point where in 2008/09 they had their best season ever and finished on top of the world Test and one-day rankings.
“They have slipped down both logs since then and CSA is determined to get them back to the top.
“We have accepted Mickey’s view that a change at the coaching helm is needed, and we have made this as seamless as possible by bringing in, on a caretaker basis, the considerable expertise of Corrie van Zyl, who is doing outstanding work as CSA’s high-performance coach.
“Corrie is familiar with the Proteas’ culture and has always pursued excellence, both as a player and a coach.
“We are confident the new management and the Proteas will go forward from here, as part of CSA’s strategy to take the Proteas to the top and keep them there. This starts with the forthcoming tour to India.”
Majola added: “CSA is hopeful that Mickey will find a way to continue to work within our structures in another capacity because of his expertise and his passion for the game.”
‘The right decision’
Elaborating on his decision to resign, Arthur said: “I have decided to resign as national coach of the Proteas with immediate effect as I feel that it is in the best interests, both of me and of the team.
“Differences of approach on how to get the Proteas back to the top of world cricket have arisen between the board of Cricket South Africa and me and I don’t believe I can take the team forward under the present circumstances.
“There comes a time when you have to move on and I know in my own heart that I have taken the right decision.
“It is never a bad thing to have a fresh pair of legs running the show, and I wish my successor all the best in his endeavours.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my five years with Cricket South Africa and I feel that we as a team have enjoyed considerable success, including being the top-ranked team in the world for a period of time in both Test cricket and the limited-overs formats.
“It is common cause that the year 2008 was the finest in the history of South African cricket, either before or since unity, when we went unbeaten in Test series in three tough away tours to India, England and Australia in the space of nine months.
“This is an achievement almost without parallel in the history of our great game.
“To be part of the series-winning world-record 438 game against Australia was also a memorable moment.
“In conclusion, I would like to wish Corrie, Graeme and the team all the best for the future and particularly for the forthcoming tour of India.
“I believe we have put the foundation in place for the Proteas to continue as a major force in world cricket.”
Meanwhile, Smith denied reports that Arthur’s resignation was due to a breakdown in their relationship.
“Mickey brought a lot of stability and calmness to the team and, having worked so closely together, it was disappointing, it hurt me, to hear the media telling everybody our relationship had broken down,” Smith, who sat next to Arthur, told the news conference.
“I can tell you we spoke a few times on the telephone yesterday [Tuesday], so much for our relationship being irreparably damaged. We had a very healthy relationship and I gave him my full support.”
The Proteas leave for their tour of India on Saturday to play two Test matches and three one -ay internationals against the hosts. — Sapa, Reuters