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South Africans peeved by rumours
17 Aug 2006
By: Sudeep Popat


The South African cricket team is angry over rumours spread by the local media in Sri Lanka that the decision of the squad to return home following the bomb blast in Colombo was forced upon the younger members of the team by senior players. The players were also raged over a story in one of the local daily newspapers which read a head that said that the South Africans had "chickened out".

Another newspaper, The Daily Mirror, suggested that Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Andrew Hall, Andre Nel and Mickey Arthur, were some of the senior players who were influential in getting to the final decision of leaving the island country. The particular article also, outrageously, suggested that the Proteas left the country more from the danger of being humiliated by their own poor performance rather than any security threat.

Boucher, who was supposed to lead the side in the tri-series if it had gone ahead, said, "It's disappointing, and there's not much that you can do once such stuff is published." The team manager, Gordon Templeton was also amused by the rumours in the two dailys. "Those with anything between their ears, and who understand cricket, would find such stories utterly laughable."

One of the younger players, AB de Villiers, too has come out, and tried to halt the rumours. In an interview with Cricinfo he said, "It was a decision taken by everyone. It was an opportunity for the young guys to play a few games in subcontinent conditions [with the Champions Trophy just two months away], and it's unfortunate that it won't happen. I'm prepared to give everything while playing for South Africa, but not my life."

de Villiers also said, "It's nonsense to judge someone without being here in their situation. We're foreigners here, not knowing what's going on, and with bombs going off near us. The security guys are telling us to go home, and that's good enough for me."

Perhaps the most important quote comes from Loots Bosman though, who, if South Africa had stayed on, would have made his ODI debut, having been drafted into the squad for the injured Graeme Smith, disposing off any hints of a dissension within the team on the decision to go back home as suspected by some of the local media. He told Cricinfo, "Obviously, the whole situation is about safety. It's not a junior-senior issue. On the cricketing front, it's unfortunate, but I can't do much about it or have any control over such situations. Maybe I'll get an opportunity to represent South Africa again."

The South African team flies back home today, however, since the local media will probably lose some money as a result of the cancellation of the tri-series, it is not likely that just scathing articles may feature the newspapers in the next few days to come.

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