SA coach Simons steps down

Published: Friday, October 15, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Durban:The recent poor performances by the South African cricket team has found its first casualty in coach Eric Simons who resigned from his post today, hardly a month before the side is to undertake a two-Test tour of India.

United Cricket Board of South Africa spokesman Gerald De Kock said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg that a statement to this effect would be made soon.

"Watch the space. We will be making a statement soon sometime," he said.

Simons is understood to have taken the decision after intense pressure from various quarters, including the media, following the national team's thrashing in Sri Lanka and inthe ICC Champions Trophy tournament in London recently.

Officials and players have been spoken to and names of three Australians -- Steve Waugh, Geoff Marsh and Tom Moody --are at the top of the list as possible replacements.

Captain Graeme Smith was quoted as saying that he would not mind an Australian taking over as the coach on a permanent basis.

"At this stage I'm just looking for the best for the team, be it a South African, an Englishman or an Australian," he said.

Although De Kock did not divulge any other information, it is understood that on an ad hoc basis former Test player Ray Jennings could be hired to replace Simons just for theIndian tour.

It is also speculated that former manager Goolam Rajah will be recalled to replace Tim Selby for the Indian tour. Convenor of selectors, Omar Henry, is also expected to bea casualty and could be demoted to being a selector.

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