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Captain, coach in safe zone: UCBSA

SA cricket bosses have given Arthur and Smith a new lease of life despite their poor performances on a recent tour of Australia.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 13:49 IST

South Africa's cricket bosses have given coach Micky Arthur and and captain Graeme Smith a new lease of life despite their poor performances on a recent tour of Australia.

Cricket CEO Gerald Majola and other senior officials have issued a statement in support of the coach and the captain ahead of the arrival of the Australian cricket team in Johannesburg.

Australia will arrive here on Monday play a full series of one-dayers and Test with the opening match being a Pro20 International at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on February 24.

"While supporters are worried about the state of the game in South Africa, we believe there is no need for panic. There was no ultimatum given to captain or coach. Their jobs are safe for now," Majola said.

Backed by the convenor of selectors, Haroon Lorgat, and Vincent van der Bijl, manager of professional cricket, Majola said they had a meeting with Arthur and Smith to assure them of their support following widespread criticism that the national cricket players were a "bunch of losers".

Even Finance Minister Trevor Manuel took a swipe at the cricketers when he delivered his budget speech in parliament this week.

He said the cricket team and the national soccer players had volunteered to clean up a construction site for free. The soccer players had also fared badly recently when they were ousted from the Africa Cup tournament in Egypt.

Smith and his boys were cold shouldered by South Africans when they returned from Australia two weeks ago.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 13:49 IST