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Selection row escalates in South Africa

February 08, 2008 08:54 IST

Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Norman Arendse and national team coach Mickey Arthur have laid disciplinary charges against each other in an escalating row over the squad to tour Bangladesh.

Arthur was part of a selection panel that, according to media reports, failed to meet CSA guidelines by picking at least seven coloured players in the squad for the Bangladesh tour.

The squad was due to be finalised on Tuesday but Arendse refused to approve the selectors' choice in a teleconference that ended in acrimony.

Another teleconference on Thursday, during which the selectors presented the same squad, also ended inconclusively.

Arendse said on Thursday that Arthur had behaved in a "disrespectful" and "abusive" fashion, and suggested that he had ignored CSA's racial transformation policy.

"If a coach says, 'There's no transformation policy' (among selectors), if he says, 'Sorry, I'm not prepared to implement CSA's policies', then his position is untenable," Arendse told reporters.

He added that he had laid disciplinary charges against Arthur, who reacted by filing his own complaint against Arendse.

"Unfortunately I felt I had no choice but to do likewise," Arthur told Reuters. "The president accused me of all sorts of things apart from failing, or even refusing to implement CSA's transformation policies. That is simply untrue.

"The president's implication would appear to be that I prefer to select white players over black players, which is deeply insulting and hurtful.

"(Black players) Hashim Amla, Charl Langeveldt and JP Duminy have all established themselves in the national squad in my time as coach while Ashwell Prince became the country's first black captain."

South Africa face a tough tour to India after visiting Bangladesh, which Arthur said was the selectors' motivation for not picking a more experimental squad for the Bangladesh series.

"It seemed perfectly reasonable that the first choice test squad should be picked for Bangladesh given that we had three tests in India straight afterwards and they would become acclimatised to sub-continental conditions," Arthur said.

CSA chief executive Gerald Majola will have to resolve the dispute, despite saying that he was venturing into unchartered territory.

"It is within my powers to try and broker a peace deal between the two men and that is what I hope to achieve, but it depends on whether they want that to happen, whether they are prepared to talk," Majola told Reuters on Thursday.

"We have never had two officials charging each other with disciplinary breaches; I'm not sure how we would handle that."

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