WAGS stand by their Proteas

2015-03-08 15:00

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After Rilee Rossouw’s great knocks early in the Proteas’ World Cup campaign, he rushed back to his hotel room to see his roommates.

That’s because he wasn’t sharing digs with AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla or JP Duminy. The star batsman was hurrying back to his five-month-old daughter, Robyn Lee, and wife, Maryke.

And Cricket SA (CSA) paid for the two ladies in Rossouw’s life to be in Australia, covering travel and accommodation costs for the Proteas’ wives or girlfriends and children for a window period that ended on Wednesday. After that, they were free to stay on at their own expense.

Rilee Rossouw with his baby daughter, Robyn Lee

“Rilee did well while we were there,” Maryke told City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, shortly after she returned to South Africa on Thursday.

Those who choose to take their wives were not separated from them during the time they were there, said Maryke. They spent every moment together when the players weren’t practising or playing.

Their experience was in sharp contrast to the Wags (wives and girlfriends) of Bafana players at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

One of the Bafana Wags told City Press in January that during the tournament she missed her man and couldn’t even communicate with him because “cellphones are not allowed at the [training] camp”.

“This is not overseas, where Victoria Beckham is allowed to even share a hotel with her husband, David Beckham,” the woman said. She soothed her loneliness, she said, by going shopping.

There has also apparently been plenty of shopping in Australia and New Zealand since the Cricket World Cup started last month.

Maryke said the Proteas’ partners largely had to occupy themselves during the day.

“We regularly did things together when the men were practising. We recently had a picnic at a lake in Canberra that the hotel arranged for us.

“We would usually visit many of the tourist attractions and, of course, go shopping.”

Sue Duminy, who is married to all-rounder JP, spent some time alone with a book by another cricketing wife, Deborah Kirsten. Deborah is married to former Proteas opener Gary.

JP and Sue Duminy spent their free time together

The book, Chai Tea & Ginger Beer, can be seen on Sue’s Instagram account, where she shared with her followers what she was reading during the tour.

Deborah told City Press that, when her husband was still playing for the Proteas, she toured with them regularly.

And she said that Gary, when he was coaching India’s team, allowed his men the same privilege during the World Cup in 2011 – which India won.

“Gary was flexible about families touring with them. The schedule was so tough, it was important for the families to support them,” said Deborah.

Maryke agreed, saying people who suggested partners distracted the Proteas from their on-field commitments were just plain wrong.

“If it was bad for players, CSA would not have allowed us to go,” she said.

And the Wags don’t just stick together by nationality.

When India thumped the Proteas on February 21 this year, Sue Duminy took a photo with Ayesha Mukherjee, wife of Indian player Shikhar Dhawan, and congratulated her friend on India’s victory. “Well, done, Mrs Dhawan,” she tweeted.

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