“Obviously racist”: the greats of South African cricket Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher accused of racism

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South Africa head coach Mark Boucher admitted players were unprepared for the realities of post-apartheid team dynamics at the time of the alleged racial discrimination.

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South Africa head coach Mark Boucher admitted players were unprepared for the realities of post-apartheid team dynamics at the time of the alleged racial discrimination.

South African cricket greats Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher have been accused of historic racial discrimination.

The trio are all guilty of discriminating against black gamers, including failing to select them on the basis of their race, according to the findings of a 252-page report, compiled by the South African Commission for Social Justice and nation building.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) commissioned the independent investigation, with the report produced on the basis of testimony gathered from affidavits and 35 days of hearings.

CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith has been accused of making selections based on race when he was captain of the national team.

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CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith has been accused of making selections based on race when he was captain of the national team.

Boucher, now the national team’s head coach, told the report that South African players at the time were “unprepared for the realities of post-apartheid team dynamics”.

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Boucher, Smith (now CSA director of cricket) and others were accused of disparaging race-based comments towards former South African spinner Paul Adams, including singing a victory song that included racial slurs against Adams .

Adams was the only black player on the team when he made his testing debut in 1995 and during the hearing he called for more education to ensure players of all races are treated with respect. in the future.

“I was called brown s… when I was playing,” Adams said. “It was a lot of times a song when we were betting a game and were in fines meetings. The ring, tra la la la laa,” Adams said.

AB de Villiers posted on social media to deny the allegations against him.

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AB de Villiers posted on social media to deny the allegations against him.

His then-girlfriend, who would later become his wife, asked him why she was called that when it was clearly not right.

“When you play for your country, when you have this victory, you don’t see any sense in it, you dismiss it, but it’s blatantly racist,” Adams said.

“Some people will say unconscious bias and they weren’t aware of it, but that’s why we’re here – to change that.”

Adams also felt during his playing career that he was left out for Pat Symcox because of his race.

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England captain Joe Root was hit in the head by an ugly Ben Stokes bouncer in the net.

“I felt like they were repressing me and hiding me. I felt like they didn’t want me to outsmart the white player and instead leave me in that corner and sit and listen. “

The report also highlighted the non-selection of Thami Tsolekile who, in 2012, was a contract player and Boucher’s alternate wicket keeper in the Smith-led national team.

When Boucher was forced into early retirement due to an eye injury, instead of promoting Tsolekile, Smith replaced Boucher with de Villiers.

“It is difficult to rule out Mr Tsolekile’s run as the main reason he failed in the Proteas,” the report said. “The CSA, Mr. Graeme Smith and some of the coaches at the time really failed Mr. Tsolekile and many black players of his day in a lot of ways.”

De Villiers himself is accused of an almost identical selection saga when, as ODI captain of South Africa in 2015, he replaced Dean Elgar to play in place of injured JP Duminy for the last game of a series against India rather than choosing Khaya Zondo.

De Villiers posted on Instagram to deny the accusations.

“I support the goals of CSA’s social justice and nation-building process, to ensure equal opportunity in cricket.

“However, in my career I have expressed honest opinions about cricket only based on what I thought was best for the team, never based on anyone’s race. . “

The CSA has not yet taken action as it is taking time to review the report.

Smith and Boucher should come under close scrutiny as de Villiers no longer holds any official positions within the ASC.


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