Jennings handed temporary coach role

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The Independent Online

Former South African wicketkeeper Ray Jennings has been named as the new coach of the senior national side after Eric Simons was sacked today.

Former South African wicketkeeper Ray Jennings has been named as the new coach of the senior national side after Eric Simons was sacked today.

The change comes after a string of bad results which saw the Proteas fall from second in the world rankings to eighth.

Both Simons and manager Tim Southey have had their contracts terminated by mutual agreement with Cricket South Africa (Pty) Ltd and the UCBSA.

Current SA 'A' team coach Jennings has accepted an offer to coach the team until the end of the tour of the West Indies in May 2005.

The chief executive of the South Africa board, Gerald Majola, backed Jennings to make the step up with the senior team.

"We are fortunate to have a man of Ray's experience to call on," he said.

"He was a fine player and has proved with Easterns and in his brief time with the SA 'A' team that he is a top-class coach.

We look forward to him bringing the same drive and determination to the National Squad.

" However, Jennings has only been appointed on a temporary basis, and a full- time replacement still needs to be found.

There has been speculation in the press than an Australian could be appointed, with former players Rodney Marsh, Steve Waugh and Tom Moody all mentioned.

Jennings will be in charge for next month's tour to India, the home series against England and the tour of the West Indies next year.

The decision to sack Simons came after meetings between the United Cricket Board and senior players.

A statement from the UCB said: "Simons and Southey were part of the review process, and, after further discussions with the CEO, it was decided, that, in the best interest of both parties and South African cricket, their contracts would be terminated.

"Both men have accepted the terms of the settlement packages proposed by CSA and the UCBSA.

Those terms are confidential.

" Simons said in the same statement that he was disappointed at the outcome.

"Obviously I am immensely disappointed that we were not able to achieve better results," he said.

"These have been very tough times for the national team and I acknowledge that we performed below expectation on the tours of New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

I accept that in times like this tough decisions have to be made."

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