Stewart never to be chosen to play for country again

Published: Saturday, February 22, 2003, 3:27 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The South African cricketer who refused to tour Zimbabwe earlier this year will never again be chosen to play for his country, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) announced on Friday.

Errol Stewart declared himself unavailable for the South African 'A' team tour of Zimbabwe in January, claiming he could not morally play cricket while the country was suffering so much violence and starvation. A spokesman for the governing body said that Stewart was not being punished for his stance, but because he had not followed the correct procedures. "He has still not discussed it with UCBSA chief executive Gerald Majola," the spokesperson told the SAPA news agency.

"He did not inform the board of his decision, but went straight to the media." The Natal Witness reported on Friday that Majola had confirmed that the board had made a decision that Stewart should not be considered by the national selectors. "This is not about Zimbabwe and I don't want to get into that," Majola said when asked if the UCBSA's decision would be interpreted as tacit support for President Robert Mugabe.

"Stewart took the decision upon himself by making himself unavailable without good reason and he never consulted with the UCBSA. Morally, I couldn't just go to Zimbabwe and play cricket and ignore the human suffering that is happening there," said Stewart.

"Going on the tour would have meant staying in a hotel that has all the luxuries, while outside you have a population half of which is starving and has no access to basic commodities that we take for granted." The 33-year-old Stewart, a lawyer, said, "Mugabe's flagrant disregard for the rule of law was also a major factor in my decision to miss the tour."

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