• Reminder: Smith’s response to allegations from 2020

    In light of renewed allegations regarding Graeme Smith and a previous selection omission of Thami Tsolekile, take a look back at the response from the former Proteas captain that was issued to related insinuations last August.

    Back in August of 2020, Tsolekile conducted interviews with Robert Marawa and spoke about the issues he had with the match-fixing investigation of 2015, as well as calling Smith out for not being aware of certain issues surrounding the battle to be the Proteas wicketkeeper in a period from 2010.

    During that time, current head coach Mark Boucher was the incumbent keeper for the Proteas, while Tsolekile was seen to be second in line – based on his good domestic performances – but the wicketkeeper argued that he was not afforded fair opportunity even when Boucher picked up an injury.

    It’s now emerged that former Proteas fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has made a submission ahead of the postponed Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) public hearings alleging that Smith threatened to quit the Proteas if Tsolekile was selected during a tour of England in 2012.

    READ: Tsotsobe implicates Smith in controversial Tsolekile snub

    With this in mind, take a look back at how Smith responded last year when he posted a personal response to Tsolekile’s claims on his Instagram page, which has since been removed.

    However, he stated then that he never had any personal issues with Tsolekile, while he was also not aware of ‘the frustrations of his international career’.

    ‘Almost every player I have come across feels that they could have contributed more,’ the former Proteas skipper and now CSA director of cricket wrote back in August 2020.

    ‘Unfortunately, Thami was a wicketkeeper, which meant he was always only fighting for one position. I can understand how frustrating that must have been, and there have been several other excellent wicketkeepers that South African cricket never saw on an international stage, because keepers tend to stay in a team for long periods of time.’

    Smith further said that he ‘certainly didn’t get every decision right’ during his long tenure as captain of South Africa, while adding that he had no say in the selection of squads or teams, to which Tsolekile made reference as to who should have replaced Boucher during the 2012 tour of England.

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    ‘Thami was in the squad as reserve keeper to AB de Villiers and this was communicated to him on both the England and Australian tours by Gary Kirsten [head coach at the time], which has been previously acknowledged by Thami.’

    Smith concluded by saying the allegations made were ‘extremely hurtful’ and denied it with the strongest regard.

    ‘Every time I walked on to the field, I was proud to wear the South African Protea, and to play alongside every one of the players with me.’

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    Craig Lewis