Chief executive Moroe denies ‘Biff’ is frontrunner, but source says he was approached in September

Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith is in the running for Cricket SA’s (CSA) newly created position of director of cricket, according to a source.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Smith was first sounded out in September for the post, which was created to fit into the new coaching structure of the Proteas.

This was in reaction to the team winning only three of their nine matches to finish seventh at the World Cup.

The source claimed that meeting was attended by CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe, his predecessor Ali Bacher, MultiChoice executive chairperson Imtiaz Patel and Gauteng Lions president Jack Madiseng. Smith was interviewed via video link on Friday.

But Moroe denied that CSA had made an approach for Smith’s services, claiming that he had spoken to all parties said to have been at the meeting individually – but for different reasons.

“I met with Ali Bacher to talk to him about the business of CSA and we spoke about celebrating the history of South African cricket,” said Moroe.

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“As far as Imtiaz, I met him in Dubai to talk about the domestic restructure and what SuperSport’s role is in that.

“I’ve also been meeting with former players since London at the World Cup to talk about the roles they can play going forward – that includes coaching roles, director of cricket, team director – all these positions that are available.”

With regards to where CSA is in its process of appointing a director of cricket, Moroe said the interviewing panel – which our source said comprised of Madiseng, Northerns Cricket Union president Tebogo Siko, CSA board members Dawn Mokhobo and Shirley Zinn – had come up with four names for the board to choose from.

Moroe refused to name the short list up for discussion for fear of “compromising the process”. Given the claims that the conversation about the job has been ongoing with Smith, this would seem to put him in pole position to get it.

But it does beg the question, is Corrie van Zyl, the acting director of cricket, now out of the picture? Van Zyl was suspended along with two other senior executives pending an investigation into their alleged role in the Mzansi Super League players not being paid their image rights fees for last year’s tournament.

Moroe said he wasn’t, explaining: “As far as the investigation process that I’m following, the suspensions that I issued out are precautionary suspensions. So that does not preclude anyone, nor does it prevent any of those gentlemen from applying – we can’t pre-empt or not allow them to interview because of a precautionary suspension.”

Moroe said he didn’t know when CSA would announce the successful candidate, other than a date he has in mind (but wouldn’t divulge), to allow for the “necessary human resources processes” and discussions around the shortlisted entrants.

Should Smith be the favoured applicant, he would probably be a popular choice for the people on the street. Having captained South Africa in 108 tests, winning 53 of them – the most by a test captain in history – the left-handed batsman, who is also the country’s third-highest run-scorer (9 253 and 27 centuries) would be a popular choice for the fans, too.

His first job in charge would be to find a permanent team director to coach the Proteas, a job currently held in the interim by Lions coach Enoch Nkwe, whose first stab at holding the reins ended in a hospital pass 3-0 series defeat against India on the subcontinent.

“Once the director of cricket is appointed, they’ll tell me what they are thinking and what they want to do with that job, and suggest whatever process they’d like to follow,” said Moroe.