Ryan Rickelton has spoken out about his controversial omission from the Proteas Test squad to tour Australia.
When the 16-man squad was announced, CSA said an ankle injury had ruled Rickelton out of contention for the Proteas tour although he was still able to play domestic cricket for the Lions.
The 26-year-old batsman has since scored back-to-back hundreds for the Lions in the 4-Day Series.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around what’s going on, to be honest,” Rickelton told Cricket Fanatics Magazine. “Just a couple of weeks ago I got a call from Vic [Proteas selection convener Victor Mpitsang] saying, ‘you’re down on the team sheet to go to Australia but effectively there’s a cross next to your name. What’s going on?’
“I said, ‘Vic, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m fine and fit to play.’ Long story, short, he said he needed to get hold of the doctor to find out what’s going on. My ankle, at the moment, has probably been hurt for about three years, the surgeon reckons.
“It flared up just after that last Test against England, and when I got home I did an X-ray, and the X-ray needed me to do an MRI and ultrasound and so on. Eventually, it found out that I tore a ligament in my left ankle and I have a bone spur, which does require an operation.”
Rickelton, though, did not want to miss the tour of Australia, so he and his doctor came up with a plan involving cortisone injections that would enable him to “be fine for at least another six to 12 months comfortably.”
But when Rickelton appeared to move gingerly during the T20 Challenge, CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra requested the medical report and, after viewing it, ruled the batsman unfit to tour Australia.
Rickelton blames a “breakdown of communication between the player, the doctors and selectors” adding that “the selectors weren’t exactly sure what was going on and the communication between the doctors wasn’t as good as it should’ve been.
“Unfortunately I was left in the middle of it. It’s just one of those things I have to bear the brunt of – is that CSA’s selection policy is that they won’t take players on tour who aren’t 100% fit.
“It was a tough one to swallow. I said to them I can run a full fitness test now and pass it comfortably.”