14 Sep

Linda Zondi (pictured above far right) will not be considered for South Africa's convener of selectors position, after failing to be shortlisted for the post despite being the incumbent. It is understood that Victor Mpitsang, Hussein Manack and Patrick Moroney were interviewed last week with Mpitsang the frontrunner to get the job.

The post, which has been vacant since Zondi's contract ended after the 2019 World Cup, has been significantly revamped and is now a full-time role. The convener will now select both the men's and women's national sides, the A team, the under-19 team and will oversee the scouting and selection program in consultation with the director of cricket (DOC) Graeme Smith. Earlier this month, Smith spoke about the importance of the position.

"The convenor of selectors is a key person in CSA. It's a job that comes with a lot of pressure from all fronts," he said. " We've aligned the convenor of selectors right through the pipeline. He'll be overseeing everything."

The extensive list of criteria includes a minimum of five years experience as a selector and a qualification in sports management. Zondi, who has been a selector for 13 years and holds a diploma in sports management, was told he did not meet the requirements to be shortlisted. Cricket South Africa was asked for comment on Zondi's exclusion but, at the time of writing, had yet to respond.

Mpitsang, who is understood to be the preferred choice, convened the selection panel for the under-19 team that participated in this year's World Cup and placed eighth. He has also worked as a commentator for pay-television channel SuperSport . He is also the only black African candidate on the shortlist and having Mpitsang on the staff is likely to be met with approval from CSA's transformation policy.

Still, Mpitsang does have competition. Manack and Moroney both impressed the interview panel. Manack served as a selector under Zondi and also applied for the DOC position but lost out to Smith. Moroney was being considered under the former CEO Thabang Moroe's regime and convened the selection panel for the Jozi Stars, the team that won the inaugural Mzansi Super League (MSL).

In contrast, Zondi, who will no longer be involved, has a history of selection that stretches back almost two decades. During that time, Zondi's picks including the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi and Rassie van der Dussen have thrived and he was also involved with Quinton de Kock's elevation to white-ball captain. He was then reappointed as an "independent selector," when the national men's team management was overhauled last December, on a short-term contract which ended in April.

Among the new convener's most pressing early task will be to appoint a new men's Test captain, even though there is no indication of when the national team will be in action again.

John Stephenson


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