Further disillusion must be avoided

There is a widespread belief amongst those who care about cricket in South Africa that the new selection panel is a good one. They have yet to prove they are the right one, but they are most certainly the ‘right’ one if a cross section of public opinion is to be believed.

Haroon Lorgat provides the thinnest thread of continuity between the old panel and the new one having served for just one season under Rushdie Magiet’s convenorship so the ties have been well and truly broken.

But while there are many reasons to feel excited about the future, especially under what is sure to be a passionate and inspired period under Omar Henry’s leadership, now is the time to pause and reflect on those consigned to history.

This column is the first to admit that Rushdie came in for some heavy criticism on this page toward the end of his term but it was all strictly cricket-related and never personal. Unless accusing a businessman of lacking communication skills in his professional environment can be called personal.

But Magiet also did many good things during his tenure, as did his fellow selectors. He may have been guilty of trying to please too many people for too much of the time, but that is only human. So now is the time for everyone to offer an olive branch, and to accept it when offered.

Let’s not immediately forget Magiet, Morris Garda and Graeme Pollock; they served a long time (Magiet for over a decade) and the knowledge they acquired in that time can still be crucial to the success of the new team.

Omar certainly knows that, and by meeting Rushdie in the days before the National Cricket Committee met to make their recommendations for the new selection panel he was already ensuring that there was no danger of alienation. He didn’t even know he would be one of the recommendations, let alone end up as convenor.

There are many points of cricket and principle that Omar feels strongly about, but of the strongest is that you alienate nobody and listen to everybody. Then, and only then, do you make your decision. So, to his predecessors, you are gone – but not forgotten. Thank you

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