Former Cricket South Africa president Ray Mali has called upon current head coach Mark Boucher and director of cricket Graeme Smith to step down from their roles.
Mali states that the resignations of Smith and Boucher are the only means by which South African cricket can find “peace”. Boucher’s position as Proteas head coach has come under scrutiny following testimony by former teammate Paul Adams on Boucher’s alleged involvement in the singing of racist chants.
Boucher was named as one of a number of players who allegedly referred to Adams as a ‘brown sh*t’ during their playing days. The Proteas coach has issued an apology for “any real and perceived inappropriate behaviour”.
Even before Adams’ testimony at the Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) hearings, a number of former administrators had already been calling for Smith and Boucher’s appointments to be reviewed. Former CSA interim board member Omphile Ramela, ex-CSA independent board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw and former CEO Thabang Moroe were all critical of the duo.
Mali argues that because the CSA board that appointed Smith and Boucher was questionable, it follows that their own appointments should be called into question, too.
“In order for there to be peace, it is required for those two men in Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher to vacate their positions. There is little clarity in how they were appointed to their positions. Even though I’m a bit far from the action, it becomes clear that how they were appointed is questionable.
“The damage has been done, and it won’t help one bit if they remain in their positions. They need to be negotiated with and step back for a new beginning. They shouldn’t be dismissed callously, but our cricket won’t come right while they’re still in charge.
“The board that appointed them turned out to have major issues, and that should follow into their appointment.”
Mali said that during his tenure as CSA president, he did not find Boucher to be the most hospitable individual but nevertheless did not intervene in player affairs.
“Mark wasn’t the most respectful person. I never had anything against him, nor did I meddle in playing affairs when I was president, but I do remember him as an individual who wasn’t very approachable. When I was told that Makhaya wasn’t catching the team bus, I was told it was for exercise purposes.
“I don’t even remember [Gerald] Majola coming to tell me that they have this problem with Makhaya. It was the first time I heard of it, along with the issues of Tsotsobe.”
The Proteas are set to embark upon a tour to Sri Lanka with the cloud of the SJN revelations hanging over them. Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has said that conversations have been had between Boucher in the team in the interests of transparency.
“We would be lying if we said this didn’t have an impact on us. It’s publicly known that members of the team have been named in the SJN testimonies.
“Mark has addressed us as a team, speaking up specifically on the accusations against him. He provided clarity and context. It was really about keeping the guys in his confidence and providing a form of comfort.”