Cricket: `Secrets' worry Bacher

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THE SOUTH AFRICANS are getting extremely touchy these days. Yesterday, not content with vetoing Richard Pybus's appointment as technical coach and fitness trainer to the Pakistan World Cup squad, Ali Bacher also said he would not be happy if Bob Woolmer took over as England coach immediately after the World Cup.

The appointment of the English-born Richard Pybus, who coached Border to two provincial finals this season, was vetoed because of fears he may disclose playing secrets to South Africa's rivals.

Bacher, the managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, vetoed the arrangement after a board meeting at the weekend. "Richard works in South Africa for six months of the year and he knows all our secrets and methods," Bacher said. "It would be entirely unacceptable to have him in an opposing camp at the World Cup."

Pybus did not see the problem, saying: "I didn't think there were any secrets in international cricket these days."

Woolmer, the former England batsman who is stepping down after five years as South Africa's coach, confirmed over the weekend that an England Cricket Board official had flown out to speak to him. "We spoke for several hours last week," said Woolmer. "I told him that I wasn't making any decisions until after the World Cup."

Bacher, however, is not pleased. "There is nothing we can do to stop Bob [coaching England] although we wouldn't like to see him coaching there so soon after he was involved with the South African side.

"Hansie Cronje [the South African captain] told me that he wouldn't be happy because Bob knows the players so well and the team secrets intimately. Our board suggested that in future we would like to get a restraint against coaches who have been in charge of the national side to prevent them immediately moving into a coaching position of another country," Bacher said.

Bacher was due to announce Woolmer's successor yesterday but a decision has been delayed until later in the week after an unnamed candidate applied.