~~I~~m stronger now to make full use of the opportunity~~

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2003, 22:41 [IST]
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Johannesburg: South African batsman Jacques Rudolph said on Tuesday he is more determined than ever to kick start his international career after seeing his progress at the highest level dogged by political intrigue. Rudolph had been set to make his debut against Australia in the third Test against Australia in Sydney in January 2002, only for him to be axed from the side to accommodate coloured player Justin Ontong. "I firmly believe every disappointment has made me a stronger person. It builds one's character," said Rudolph who has been selected for the squad to tour Sharjah and Bangladesh next month under new captain Graeme Smith. "I was ecstatic when I found out about being picked," Rudolph told the 'Citizen' newspaper. "It's been a long time and I have put plenty of hard work into my game. I must be ready to make full use of my opportunity if I get one." Both Rudolph and Ontong were room-mates on that tour to Australia when Percy Sonn, the president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, intervened and insisted that Ontong should play if the team was to maintain its quota of black players in the national team. Sonn used his veto to change the team at the last minute to include two players of colour, instead of the one; the other at the time was opener Herschelle Gibbs. Copyright AFP 2001

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