The Klusener verdict

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Saturday, July 12, 2003, 14:08 [IST]
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Bangalore: If there was one South African whose performance chart for the 2003 World Cup displayed an 'A' grade then it was but to have seen him dropped from the squad in the aftermath of South Africa's debacle came as a huge surprise to me. I, for one, thought that he might have paid the price for United Cricket Board of South Africa's (UCBSA) 'team for the future' agenda, especially since UCB seemed intent on blooding youngsters after the massive heartbreak suffered at the World Cup.

However, it still did not make much sense as there already was an exodus of seniors and to voluntarily loose one more - and a proven performer at that- somehow did not add up to the scheme of things.

Losing Gary Kirsten, Jonty Rhodes, Alan Donald was a huge enough void to fill - not only calibre wise but also experience wise - so why toy with the idea of doing away with another who had just had a great World Cup.

Something felt fishy but couldn't smell it then. Not until the newly appointed captain Graeme Smith came out in the open did it strike one that it was bad blood that was the cause for the foul atmosphere.

Now the talking point is... was it beneficial or not to have dropped Klusener?

There are many who would say that nobody is bigger than the game and that UCB were right on the button when it came to Klusener!

However, while I agree that nobody is bigger than the game, I am also of the opinion that Klusener should have been given a hearing so that UCB could assess his point of view or what he had to say on the matter.

It is always good to hear both sides rather than going by just one. Moreover, I feel, even after hearing both versions if Klusener were to be found guilty of 'bad influence' - to put it in the skipper's words - there is something called as pardon/second chance.

Players like Klusener are not churned out everyday. Giving weight to the fact that he has bailed South Africa out of virtually impossible situations time & again and could do it many more times, he should have been spoken to and cautioned before being shown the door.

To have literally given Klusener the 'Boot' without giving the man a chance to express his side of things, I feel, UCB have done grave injustice to a man who has tremendously contributed to the cause & popularity of the game of cricket.

I hope Klusener does find favour with the UCB and things are settled for the benefit of one & all.


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