Tsolekile denies claim of racist selection

By Martin Smith, Yahoo!7 November 19, 2012, 10:56 am

South Africa's reserve wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has denied claims that his continued non-selection is due to his race.

Tsolekile played the last of his three Tests eight years ago and is the understudy to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers on the current tour of Australia.

Legendary South African speedster Makhaya Ntini created headlines several weeks ago when he said Tsolekile "would be playing for the Proteas if he was white".

Ntini, who played 101 Tests for his country in a decorated 11-year career, is considered an icon for black South African cricketers.

Tsolekile says Ntini is a hero of his, but denies he is the victim of racial discrimination.

"What he said was quite disturbing, for me personally. I wouldn't know why he said that," Tsolekile told South African media.

"Makhaya was speaking on behalf of himself, not me. I haven't experienced anything like that. Maybe he has his own reasons for saying that, but I haven't seen or experienced anything 'different' in this set-up.

"Perhaps he was talking from the point of view that he would like to see more African cricketers playing for the Proteas, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly what he meant. All I can say is that, from my side, I am very happy because I know exactly where I stand in the squad."

De Villiers, who has played 71 of his 78 Tests as a specialist batsman, took over the wicketkeeping duties this year when Mark Boucher was forced into early retirement.

"De Villiers's batting average in seven Tests as full-time wicketkeeper is 34.20, which is well short of his overall average of just under 50.

The decline in his batting has led some critics to call on South Africa to relieve him of the keeping duties, which would see Tsolekile come into the side.

But that is unlikely to happen on this tour, with Faf de Plessis expected to replace the injured JP Duminy for this week's second Test in Adelaide.

For his part, Tsolekile supports the decision to persist with de Villiers as a wicketkeeper.

"A.B. de Villiers is keeping very well - he kept well in England in difficult conditions and I can't see a reason to change the team," he said.

"He is batting well, too. He has made starts all the time but just hasn't gone on to make the big scores yet, but he will.

"If he wasn't getting 'in' then maybe it would be different, but he's playing well."

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  1. d01:12pm Monday 19th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    What a classic..lol. A team which is run by the black government and forces white players out so that coloured players can get into the side is now being called racist by Ntini ?.lol. SA is just doing reverse apartheid now.

  2. Graham S12:16pm Monday 19th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Who cares ....a lot of chat about nothing !!!

  3. underarm_bowler11:40am Monday 19th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Like the West Indies has so many non blacks in it, or Indians or Pakistanis or Sri Lankans or the poms. Oops hang on, the poms do have some whites in their team, just a few from England

  4. Jacka11:06am Monday 19th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    And the Australian cricket team has SO many non whites in it.

    1 Reply