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Sack me if you dare: Jennings

May 18, 2005 20:36 IST
Coach Ray Jennings sent South Africa's cricket board a defiant message on Wednesday, arguing his record was too good for him to be sacked.

Jennings, returning with his squad from the Caribbean after beating West Indies 2-0 over four Tests and whitewashing them 5-0 in the one-dayers, told reporters: "If I've been unsuccessful then they must throw me out, but if I've done well then they must back me."

Ray JenningsThe United Cricket Board are set to announce the appointment of a full-time coach on Thursday. Media speculation has been rife that Jennings, appointed as interim coach in September last year, will be replaced by Eastern Cape Warriors and former South Africa A coach Mickey Arthur.

"I was called a big mouth when I said we were aiming for a whitewash in the West Indies and I was not backed 100 percent. But I've showed it was not out of the question," Jennings added.

"I could write a chapter on how each player has sharpened up and I believe I've added value. The passion and the energy levels that were so lacking when I took over are back, and arriving back in South Africa I can see the enthusiasm for cricket is alive and well again."

Jennings, a tough-talking, innovative thinker, said he did not believe personal popularity mattered.

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don't want to be likeable but losing. I have ruffled a few feathers, but that's good because I would hate to believe the players think I'm a great guy. Sometimes good guys come second and everyone has said South African cricket's vision should be to be number one in the world."

United Cricket Board president Ray Mali was at Johannesburg International Airport to welcome the team back.

"One year ago, things were not so good, but Ray, you have done well, you have done us proud," Mali told the coach at a news conference. "This is the birth of a new era and South African cricket is on the up again."

South African captain Graeme Smith praised his bowlers for their efforts on the flat West Indian pitches.

"The bowling attack has been a revelation because the big question was how we were going to take 20 wickets. Makhaya Ntini and Andre Nel really stepped up and deserve a lot of credit," he said.

Ken Borland
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