Cape Town, Jan.27 (ANI): Mickey Arthur, among the most successful international cricket coaches of modern times, quit mentoring the South African cricket team because of the pressure that was being put on him to include more black players.
South African cricket is in turmoil again because of racial issues in selection. Arthur left the job he has filled with distinction for nearly five years only four days before his team leaves for an important tour of India.
Suggestions in South Africa that his going was prompted by differences with captain Graeme Smith, can be discounted. Arthur and Smith forged a vibrant team.
According to The Independent, Arthur appears to have been persuaded to walk because he has been worn down by the requirements of selection policy.
Although 18 years have passed since South Africa re-entered the international fold, transformation has never been fully effected.
The coach who helped to engineer seminal away Test series wins in both Australia and England has been under constant scrutiny bordering on instruction to ensure South Africa's team is racially mixed.
In some ways, this has been easy to achieve lately with several of the batting stars being non-white.
But it also became a tenet of government policy, and by extension of Cricket South Africa, that the team should include not only non-white faces but also players of a discernibly black African extraction.
The unwritten agreement that there be at least one black player in the team was easily met when fast bowler Makhaya Ntini was in his pomp.
Ntini's demise, however, has been swift and definite. He played his 100th Test match in the first match of the recent series against England and, on strict merit, should not have made it to his 101st.
Although he was rightly omitted afterwards Arthur probably suspected he was on borrowed time.
Flanked by his long-time ally Smith and Gerald Majola, the chief executive of CSA, Arthur will deliver his reasons for departing today in his home town of East London.
Arthur and Smith have done their utmost to meet the demands while also arguing that they must field a team capable of winning.
Smith now has to build a relationship with a new coach, starting with the temporary incumbent for the India tour, the academy head Corrie van Zyl.
Arthur, barring a position at home, will probably want to coach only in England or Australia. (ANI)