Cricket South Africa has extended Mickey Arthur's contract as coach until the 2011 World Cup, and appointed Mike Procter as convener of selectors. The new selection panel also features former South African vice-captain Craig Matthews, Winky Ximiya and Mustapha Khan, who has been a selector for a number of years.
“I am delighted to be back in the South African cricket fold. It’s a great privilege and honour to be convenor of selectors," said Procter, the former international and current member of the ICC's elite panel of match referees. "I realise that it is one of the most important jobs in South African cricket and look forward to meeting some of the players who I haven’t met, and it is obviously exciting taking over with a side that has been so successful in Test cricket.” Procter, 62, played seven Tests for South Africa.
Gerald Majola, CSA's chief executive, said Arthur's contract extension was based partly on an "in-depth report" on the past few seasons. “The contract of Mickey Arthur has come up for review [and] Mickey presented a strategic plan to overcome the challenges of the next few seasons leading up to and including the ICC World Cup on the subcontinent in 2011.
“Mickey presented to a panel comprising Dr. Logan Naidoo, Andrew Hudson, SA Cricketers' Association representative Gerald Dros and myself," he said. “The panel was impressed with his results as coach of South Africa, who recently completed their most successful season since unity as well as his plans for the future. The board had no hesitation in accepting this recommendation and we congratulate Mickey on a job well done so far.”
Arthur said: “It’s a great honour. I thank the board for showing their faith in me and buying into the plan leading up to the 2011 World Cup and we hope we can deliver as we have in the last couple of seasons.”
After former convener of selectors, Joubert Strydom, resigned last season, Majola stood in and a panel was established to interview applicants. “We have followed an extensive process that was urged by the [CSA] general council and board of directors following controversies over selection policies and the so-called presidential veto," Majola said. “CSA was adamant that a proper HR process be implemented, including advertising and head-hunting, to replace the former system under which selectors were nominated by affiliates."
Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka, the president-elect of CSA's new board of directors, appealed cricket be put above personal interests. "Let us subordinate our private and sectional agendas to what is good for our game," he said. "Our love and respect for the game must forthwith begin to assert themselves. Let us bend our energies in looking after and further developing this precious treasure we have, and that is the wonderful game of cricket.
“The challenge is therefore not mine, or at least not mine alone to establish unity in this organization. It is also a challenge for each and everyone here. It is a challenge for the provincial administrator or selector who refuses to acknowledge the winds of change in our sport. It is a challenge for the official who is embittered over the injustice of the past that he refuses to accept that what binds us is far greater than what divides us.”