Johannesburg: South Africa's cricket chiefs on Wednesday moved to keep their World Cup squad united by warning players not to comment publicly on disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje.
As Shaun Pollock's men struggled to stay afloat in the tournament, cracks began to appear in the squad when Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten clashed about the merits of the current captain. Gibbs suggested that the team was missing Cronje, who died last year while serving a life ban from cricket following the match-fixing scandal, while Kirsten asked teammates to support Pollock.
Gerald Majola, chief executive of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), stepped in to stem the growing row in the bud. "Some South African players should stop comparing the captaincy styles of Shaun Pollock and the late Hansie Cronje and rather get on with the job of winning World Cup matches," Majola told a Johannesburg's newspaper.
"What we require now is total focus on the job at hand - to win all the remaining matches in the round-robin stage of the cup. Looking back at eras will not help this cause, especially when Shaun needs all the support he can get to lead us to victory. "I have spoken to coach Eric Simons and he assures me all the players are behind the captain, the team and the nation," Majola said.
Cronje, an icon in South African sport, was banned from cricket for life two years ago after being found guilty of taking money from illegal bookmakers and attempting to corrupt team-mates. He died in a plane crash in June last year, but current teammates have not forgotten his inspiring leadership.