SA selectors under fire over Smith~~s captaincy

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2003, 0:03 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Graeme Smith's elevation to the South African captaincy came under fire on Monday with claims that the country's selectors had missed a golden opportunity to appoint a black skipper. "Graeme Smith has no leadership track record. The only record he has is that he's been a white man all of his life," said African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Malusi Gigaba. "We are subject to racism in sport which is perpetrated by whites who have no respect for Africans." The 22-year-old Smith replaced Shaun Pollock as skipper following South Africa's humiliating first round exit from the World Cup, a tournament in which they had started as co-favourites with defending champions Australia. "On what basis was he selected? Surely on the race card. The white administrators are not recognising Africans, particularly Makhaya Ntini who has been consistent and prove himself over and over again in the field of play," Gigaba told the 'Sowetan' newspaper. Strike bowler Ntini is South Africa's leading black player. Prior to the World Cup, former South Africa cricket chief Ali Bacher gave late sports minister Steve Tshwete a promise that five coloured players would be included in the 15-man squad for the tournament. Herschelle Gibbs, Ntini, Robin Peterson, Charl Langeveldt and Monde Zondeki were the coloured players named. Gibbs and Ntini were two of the team's success stories in South Africa's otherwise dismal campaign which ended at the first round stage. Opening batsman Gibbs hit 384 runs with a best of 143 and average of 96 while pace bowler Ntini claimed 10 wickets at 17.60. Copyright AFP 2001

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