Former Test captain Graeme Smith is set to become Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket, the governing body’s president Chris Nenzani announced on Saturday.
Nenzani added at a press conference he had spoken to 38-year-old Smith earlier in the day.
“I am happy to announce that we have engaged Graeme Smith and I am confirming that by next week Wednesday all of the negotiations around the contract terms that need to take place would have been concluded,” said Nenzani, speaking after a special board meeting of CSA, following a week of crisis for the organisation.
If Smith agrees to take the job he will have just over two weeks to put a selection panel and coaching staff in place before the first of four Tests against England, starting in Centurion on December 26.
Despite calls for the resignation of Nenzani and the entire board, Nenzani said the board had been mandated by the organisation’s members’ council – made up of presidents of the 14 provincial affiliates – “to continue to guide us through this period and turn it around.”
The press conference came after a tumultuous week during which five leading journalists had their accreditation withdrawn, a major sponsor announced it would not renew its agreement with CSA and chief executive Thabang Moroe was suspended on charges of misconduct.
Nenzani said a lack of trust in Moroe by Smith was a factor in negotiations which have been conducted sporadically over a period of three months.
Several prominent individuals, as well as the Gauteng cricket board and the SA Cricketers’ Association, called for the board to stand down but Nenzani said the issue had not been raised at a meeting of the members’ council which started late on Friday and continued until the early Saturday.
He brushed off the resignations of three of the board’s five independent directors.
“We thank them for their service and will engage in a process to fill the vacancies,” he said.
Nenzani said the respected Jacques Faul, the chief executive of the Northerns cricket union and a former acting chief executive of SA, had agreed to again become the acting chief executive with immediate effect.