Emotional Nel urged to wait

2008-03-14 00:00

JOHANNESBURG - The chief executive of South Africa’s players’ association yesterday urged axed Andre Nel not to make a decision regarding his future in the heat of the moment.

South Africa play the final one-day international against Bangladesh in Dhaka today, before flying to India on March 21 for three tests in Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kanpur.

Nel was a controversial omission when South Africa’s squad for the tests in India next month was announced on Tuesday, his place going to swing bowler Charl Langeveldt to ensure the team had six non-white players.

The fiery Nel initially pulled out of a one-day international against Bangladesh in Dhaka to be played the following day, but changed his mind and was named man of the match in South Africa’s seven-wicket victory.

He then failed to turn up at the presentation ceremony or news conference, amid reports that he was planning to abandon South African cricket to take up offers to play in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) or become a Kolpak player in England, ineligible to represent his country.

Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, said he hoped Nel would wait until he had calmed down before making any major decisions.

“It’s important that he doesn’t make decisions about his future in the heat of the moment,” Irish told Reuters yesterday.

“Any player that wants to join the ICL should consider all the implications, because it is removing players from mainstream cricket and could be a dead-end for their career.

“The problem is that, unfortunately, the other national boards seem to be clamping down on it because of the pressure exerted on them by the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India], which is very unfortunate.

“Andre is only 30 and has a few years of international cricket left in him,” Irish said.

South African captain Graeme Smith said Nel had been angered by his omission.

“He was emotional and upset, but we were all emotional; not only Nella. I don’t think everyone slept as well as we would have liked to before a match,” Smith said after the series-clinching win over Bangladesh.

Team manager Logan Naidoo, who is also Cricket South Africa’s deputy president, confirmed Nel had lost his place because of his colour.

“We have to try to select a team that can be the best in the world but we must, at the same time, look at transformation targets. Andre has been the unfortunate player to be on the receiving end this time around. We sympathise with him for what has happened,” Naidoo said.

CSA president Norman Arendse, who had refused to approve the test squad to play Bangladesh, prompting a local cricket crisis last month, said he had nothing to do with the selection of the squad for India.

“You must ask the selectors about Andre Nel, they’re the ones who selected the squad,” Arendse said.

Media reports had suggested that the selectors had originally chosen Nel, but that Arendse rejected the squad and insisted on six players of colour.

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