Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith has issued a personal statement on recent allegations made by former wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile.
Over the past two weeks, Tsolekile has conducted interviews with Robert Marawa and spoke about the issues he has 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 kept glove for the Proteas, while Tsolekile was second in line – based on his good domestic performances – but never got the opportunity to play.
Smith posted a personal response to Tsolekile’s claims on his Instagram page on Thursday afternoon, where he says he never had any personal issues with Tsolekile, while he was also not aware of ‘the frustrations of his international career’.
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Smith continued by using examples of other players, who were also left out of the Proteas set-up due to the new direction the team decided to take as a collective.
Such players include Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini, who were all cut from either the Test or ODI team at a time when they thought they were still good enough to do the job.
‘Almost every player I have come across feels that they could have contributed more,’ the former Proteas skipper added.
‘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 says further 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.
‘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 denies it with the strongest regard.
‘Every time I walked on to the field, I was proud the wear the South African Protea, and to play alongside every one of the players with me.’