In the wake of former Proteas paceman Makhaya Ntini’s racism grievances on team selection, race cracks are beginning to appear in the national team’s setup.
Recently, Ntini blasted the no.1 ranked side in Test cricket, saying at the time: “I don’t understand how we can only have one black cricketer in our (Test) squad.
“What’s going on? In the whole squad – one?
“(Thami) Tsolekile would’ve been playing if he were white. People will say we’re talking politics but we need to say these things.”
Ntini’s view, Sport Live reported, is followed by a situation where white players chose to spend their four day break after the first Test against Australia sight-seeing and getting a Down Under feel, while their black teammates decided to stay behind at the team’s hotel.
Tsolekile, however, has downplayed Ntini’s “disturbing”’ assertions.
“”Having played most of my cricket in the township, Makhaya has always been our icon,” Tsolekile is quoted as saying.
“What he said was quite disturbing; I wouldn’t know why he said that.
“He was speaking on behalf of himself. Maybe he has got his own reason why he said that.
“Maybe he is talking from the point that he wishes he could see more African players playing for the Proteas. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what he meant.”
Tsolekile is the only African player in the Test side and, with the inclusion of injured JP Duminy’s replacement along with the persistence of AB de Villiers’ selection as gloveman, he’s likely to be disregarded for the second Test match.
The Knights’ Dean Elgar will come in for Duminy, who recently underwent an operation on his Achilles tendon and is set to sit out for six months . A top order batsman for his franchise (and a white player), Elgar may have to bat at no. 7 as he’s more formiddable with the bat than Tsolekile, another problem for the gloveman as spinner Imran Tahir has also been called to action.
Tsolekile made his debut in 2004, and this will only be his second time he dons the Proteas’ Test shirt, if he gets the opportunity.