So yesterday, the cricketing world was set abuzz by the shock announcement of South African coach Mickey Arthur’s dethronement resignation firing departure from his official position, well before the end of his contract with Cricket South Africa. It’s been barely 24 hours since the news broke and already there are enough rumours, accusations, counter-accusations, denials and counter-denials flying around to make your head spin.
What’s the real story? We may never know (until Arthur’s autobiography comes out, in which case – no, we may still never know. Not to cast aspersions on the man’s integrity, but even Gandhi was economical with the truth when it suited him. It’s only human.) In any case, it’s always more fun to speculate, and by far the juiciest theory doing the rounds is that Mickey’s resignation/firing/dismissal/whatever it’s being called now was engineered and executed at the behest of Graeme Smith. What the newspapers are citing as an “irreparable breakdown in [their] relationship,” which could also be interpreted as Graeme doing a Klusener on his erstwhile coach. But still, even if that’s the case (let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is) the question remains: why? And why now?
The answer could lie in one of the other two major captain-coach conflicts we’ve seen in the past year or so. One involved Kevin Pietersen, and he didn’t exactly emerge from it covered in glory, so we can probably assume it’s not that one. (Besides, I imagine Graeme would rather perform impromptu abdominal surgery on himself with a rusty sword than allow himself to be inspired in any way by the actions of Kevin ‘traitorous faux-Pommie bastard’ Pietersen.) So that only leaves…Daniel Vettori and Andy Moles.
Graeme Smith looking to New Zealand for inspiration is only slightly less unlikely than him looking to England for the same thing, but Daniel Vettori is no ordinary New Zealander. He’s no ordinary cricketer. He’s basically transformed himself into Superfly (note to Vettori supporters: I am not in any way implying that “the aim of his role/ is to move a lot of blow” so you can just calm down right now.) But the man of the hour, with an air of great power? Someone whom “the dudes” have envied for so long? Sounds about right to me. He’s also ice-cool, notoriously intelligent, and, not incidentally, a total fox (although I’m less than enamoured with the new skinhead thing he’s got going. Not A Good Look, Daniel. Do not hide the light of your hotness under a bushel in this unfortunate way.)
Anyway, it’s simple. Graeme wants to be Superfly (because, really, what man doesn’t?) Daniel Vettori is the (white, bespectacled) incarnation thereof. Ergo, Graeme is trying to be Daniel Vettori.
I mean, it was a good try. But you, Graeme, are no Daniel Vettori. Sorry, but I think you need to come up with a new plan.