Cricket South Africa (CSA) yesterday confirmed that the 56-year-old former Proteas mentor’s contract would not be renewed and that his re-application had failed.
The local governing body had announced shortly after the national Under-19’s triumphant return in March that it would restructure the role and split it into two portfolios – an academy coach and a national head coach.
At the time Jennings was coy about having to re-apply for his job, but expressed interest in continuing.
Instead, former Highveld Lions and Cape Cobras coach Shukri Conrad has been handed the responsibility of heading the national academy while former assistant at the Lions, Lawrence Mahatlane, gets Jennings’ job.
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat stated that “change was inevitable”, but expressed his gratitude to Jennings, who had been in charge of the Under-19’s since 2006.
“I would like to thank Ray for his fantastic service over the past nine years, but these new appointments follow the restructuring put forward through the Cricket pipeline committee and approved by the board in February,” he said.
For Jennings, the issue has left a sour taste and admitted that he was left “hugely disappointed”.
He added that the timing of the announcement so close to the end of his contract was annoying.
Jennings also lost his job as head coach of the IPL franchise the Bangalore Royal Challengers at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, CSA’s general manager for cricket, Corrie van Zyl, elaborated on the new structure.
“The academy head coach will focus on the national academy programme during the off-season period and manage the standardisation process of the provincial academies. During the in-season period, he will act as the head of scouts and master coaches in the semi-professional structure,” he said.
Mahatlane’s role will predominantly revolve around the national Under-19 side.