Former Proteas star Cullinan has 'no regrets', disputes Faf du Plessis account of heated exchange

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  • Former Protea Daryll Cullinan said he has no regrets over the kind of individual he was when he played cricket.
  • Cullinan, a talented, yet polarising figure, was the centre of an extract published from Faf du Plessis's autobiography Faf: Through Fire.
  • Cullinan played in 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for South African from 1993 to 2001.

Former Proteas batter Daryll Cullinan said he has no regrets over the kind of individual he has when he was an international cricketer.

Cullinan, who represented the Proteas in 70 Tests and 138 ODIs between 1992 and 2001, was thrust to the fore through an extract from former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis's autobiography Faf: Through Fire.

Cullinan, who once held the record for the highest Test score made by a South African when he made 275* against New Zealand in Auckland in 1999, said he's become a better person through his experiences.

"I was intense as a cricketer throughout my career. It was my strength and weakness," Cullinan told News24.

"With age brings wisdom. There are things I would have done differently in my career, but I don't regret any.

"They all helped shape the better person I am today."

Cullinan, who is now 55, then delved into the Du Plessis matter, stating that there were irregularities in Du Plessis's statements in his book.

Faf du Plessis (Supplied)
Faf du Plessis (Supplied)

Du Plessis made his first-class debut in the 2003/04 season for Northerns and they would have rubbed shoulders at Titans franchise level where Cullinan was captain.

Du Plessis recalled an incident in 2004 when he first arrived at the Titans and shared a dressing room with Cullinan for the first time. 

Faf du Plessis extract on Cullinan:

"Then, a few minutes into the (Titans coach Dave Nosworthy's) speech, Daryll raised his hand and told the coach to shut up. Then he turned to me: 'What the f**k are you doing next to me? Why the f**k are you sitting here?'

"The dressing room fell dead silent. Nos tried to brush off this interruption and continued talking. But after a minute or so, Daryll interrupted again: 'No, stop.'

"He then turned to me: 'Youngster, take your bag and f**k off! Jacques Rudolph is a Test player, and he's not even sitting next to me. He sits on a chair, but you sit on a f**king sofa.

"I froze. 'Take your bag and sit in the bath,' he continued to scold. 'You don't deserve to sit here.'"

Cullinan, who retired at the end of the 2004/05 season, confirmed that there was an incident between him and Du Plessis, but said there wasn't an interruption of coach Dave Nosworthy speaking, nor of him swearing at Du Plessis.

READ | As flame goes out on decade-long international career, Proteas legend Faf 'bares all' in new book

"There was an incident, yes. I spoke to five people this week, one of whom spoke to another three who were part of that meeting," Cullinan said.

"There was no memory of me interrupting the coach, swearing at Faf, or asking him to take his kit and sit in the bath!

"Not one person confirmed Faf's version of what I said! Let’s not forget this happened 18 years ago, but Faf seems to quote me as if it was yesterday.

"One person I spoke to, was the coach Dave Nosworthy, who made it clear he would have taken offense to me, according to Faf, telling him to shut up in a team meeting!

"To ask someone to take his kit and sit in the bath is ludicrous! But as they say, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."

MOSSEL BAY, SOUTH AFRICA - 25 May 2008, Daryll Cul
Daryll Cullinan. (Gallo Images)
Gallo Images

Cullinan, who was a schoolboy superstar at Komani's Queen's College before moving up levels to play for Border, said he grew up in team environments as a respectful individual who wanted respect to be earned through performance.

Cullinan, who scored 14 Test 100s but none against Australia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, said the leadership styles he grew up as a player demanded respect.

"I was respectful and like any situation, be it sport or work, I had to work hard and perform to gain the respect of the team. I would have wanted it no other way," Cullinan said.

"It's the approach adopted by the team leadership, and senior players, and that has no then and now.

"There was no memory of me interrupting the coach, swearing at Faf, or asking him to take his kit and sit in the bath!"

Cullinan said seniority was always part and parcel of cricketing dressing and that junior players always had to have reverence towards senior players. 

"I am old school. From my very first day as a 15-year-old arriving at my first game for Border, dressed in my school uniform, I asked captain Rodney Ontong where I should sit," Cullinan said.

"It was the way I was raised and the cricket etiquette I was taught. Here, in a crowded changeroom, I made it clear to Faf that he should stand up and allow a senior player to sit down.

"I don't regret the exchange. The intention was not personal but a lesson that needed to be taught."

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