EAST LONDON // The South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has resigned from his post just days before the Proteas leave for a tour of India. There are rumours that he had many differences with captain Graeme Smith and today's announcement came in the wake of the national team's failure to beat England in a recent Test series. His resignation means the Proteas have little time to find a replacement coach for the two-Test and three one-day international tour. A South African newspaper report claimed on Tuesday that Arthur had resigned after a meeting with Cricket SA management to discuss South Africa's performances against England. The tourists beat South Africa in a rain-hit one-day series and drew a four-match Test series. "The timing is very unfortunate with an exciting two-Test tour of India coming up but the international cricket calendar these days means that there is never a good time," Arthur said.
"But all good things must come to an end and now is the time for someone else to take over." The 41-year-old has been in charge of the South Africa national team since May 2005. But his contract was extended several times and he was due to guide the side until 2012. During his tenure, Arthur led South Africa to a series victory in England and a Test series triumph in Australia for the first time. "I am very proud of what the Proteas have achieved while I was coach, especially being ranked No 1 in both forms of the game in the last 12 months and winning series in England and Australia," he said.
But after those highs, South Africa lost a home series against Australia, failed to reach the knock-out stage of the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa and then performed only spasmodically against England. Arthur had forged a close relationship with South African captain Graeme Smith. In an article for the 2009 South African Cricket Annual Arthur said he saw himself and Smith as a leadership package, "with me as a sort of board chairman and Graeme as the CEO. Graeme and I had to be on exactly the same page." Signs of cracks in the relationship became evident during the Test series against England, particularly after South Africa were beaten by an innings and 98 runs in the second Test in Durban when Smith hinted at concerns about the coaching set-up. "We need to be quite precise in terms of the things we need to improve on in terms of training sessions and coaching," Smith said at the time. Arthur is scheduled to hold a news conference tomorrow to discuss his resignation with Cricket South Africa declining to comment on his departure before he addresses the media. * Agencies