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SA captain, coach under fire

Administrators demand Graeme Smith's head in wake of India's first win in SA.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 13:09 IST

Administrators and former players are increasingly calling for the heads of South African cricket captain Graeme Smith and convener of selectors Haroon Lorgat in the wake of India's first victory in a Test last week.

The Afrikaans weekly Rapport quoted several highly respected former players as saying that a drastic review of the state of South African cricket was necessary.

Ray Jennings, the outspoken former national wicket keeper and coach, did not mince his words when he told Rapport that Smith was "like a naughty boy, who regularly throws his toys out of the cot".

Jennings was reacting to a second public spat between Smith and Lorgat, who has made selections and omissions to the national squad which have been roundly condemned, even leading to the announcement by spinner Nicky Boje that he has retired from international cricket with immediate effect and another spinner, Claude Henderson, rejecting a call to rejoin the national side from where he is playing county cricket in England.

"To have a successful test team you need a strong leader. You need a man who can act in a mature way. The Aussies have Ricky Ponting, while we are stuck with Graeme Smith and his childish ways," Jennings added.

Coach Mickey Arthur, rejecting calls for his replacement by Jennings, would not comment on the former coach's remarks, but said detractors should "compare apples with apples".

"Under (Jennings) the team lost in India, at home against England and won against Zimbabwe."

Arthur conceded that preparations for the first of the three Tests against India were not good enough and the team would have to be considerably better prepared for the second Test that starts in Durban on Boxing Day.

Former captain Kepler Wessels called for Arthur to accept responsibility for South Africa having won only two of the 12 Tests they have played since he took over. Wessels also accused Lorgat of making many errors of judgment, and said that Smith needed to realise that the captain needs to lead by example by being one of the best players in the team.

Former all-rounder Clive Rice came out strongly against the selectors as well when he told Rapport: "If one looks only at the shocking team choices recently, it shows clearly what a mess our cricket is in. The selectors have no idea what is going on."

First Published: Dec 25, 2006 02:18 IST