May 24, 2000

Former SA manager calls Mallett's claims

In some polite circles he is known as ""Rowdy" but now Ashley Mallett has drawn an angry broadside of criticism from Alan Jordaan, manager of the South African 1997/98 side Down Under for comments which he says questions the team's tactics during the Sydney Test in that series.

Jordaan, a Pretoria advocate and former Northerns Cricket Union president as well as a UCB board member, labelled Mallett's claims as "utter hogwash" and has joined Steve Waugh, the Australian captain, suggesting the former Australian off-spinner either provide "hard proof of the allegations or shut up".

He also come out in support of what he has called "Cronje's honesty" and feels the King Commission will eventually clear the now disgraced South African captain of match-fixing charges.

A former provincial opening batsman and captain, Jordaan was involved almost 10 years ago in the unity discussions through which the UCB was formed; he also managed the side to the 1992 World Cup as well as the inaugural and historic tour of the West Indies.

"I find it incredible that someone could only now come forward to make such comments, and ignore all the facts of what had actually taken place at the Sydney Cricket Ground during that match," Jordaan said yesterday when he tackled Mallett's comments head on.

Mallett, who coined the nickname "Rowdy" during the 1968 Australia tour of England because he hardly talked, had been acting in an advisory capacity in 1997/98 to spin bowlers Pat Symcox and Paul Adams during the tour. South Africa lost the Sydney match by an innings and 21 runs.

In a newspaper article in a Melbourne newspaper Mallett said he had some "concerns about certain little things that happened during the game".

"And those concerns tended to get a bit bigger in my mind once the Hansie Cronje revelations (emerged). There was something not right (tactical issues) about what was happening."

He also questioned selection policy and the way Cronje set fields to Symcox's bowling during the rain and light-affected match.

"I can tell you now, and I'll tell him (Mallett) as well that it is all a load of utter hogwash," said an annoyed Jordaan.

"We were in the similar situation as we had been in Melbourne in the first Test where we needed to bat out four sessions to draw the game, and it's not easy to do it two matches running," added Jordaan. "We did not bat well and lost. It happens."

The former South African manager, who feels that Cronje is largely innocent of the charges of match-fixing and bribery ("apart from what he has admitted to taking"), said there were five selectors on that 1997/98 tour of which he was one, Cronje another and the other three being Bob Woolmer, the coach, Dave Richardson and Gary Kirsten.

Because of the pitch conditions Adams had been included with Symcox while Herschelle Gibbs was brought in for Daryll Cullinan. Rain and bad light also played a role which allowed the umpires the use of the floodlights on the third and fourth days.

Lance Klusener was left out to allow the selectors to draft in Adams. It was also a match in which Shane Warne returned second innings figures of six for 34 in 21 overs, including the dismissal of a gritty Jacques Kallis who was his 300th Test wicket when he departed for 45 with the score at 96 for eight.

There had been a rain-stoppage lasting almost three hours and when play restarted with the floodlights on when the Australian captain, Mark Taylor, called for the extra half hour with Paul Reiffel taking the last wicket as heavy rain started falling.

"Batting collapses are all part of the game," Jordaan said. "It is what makes Test matches the great games they are: collapse and revival; good bowling spell and good batting.

"This guy is totally out on his own by suggesting this. It is utter rubbish," he added.

Asked if he had met any bookies during his duties as South African manager, Jordaan said he had met, on several occasions, an Asian who lived in London and was a guest in the UCB presidential suite at the Wanderers. Apart from that there was a South African registered bookie who Jordaan had negotiated the betting shop rights at Centurion Park.

The Asian bookie Jordaan is no doubt referring to is Sanjeeva Chawla, a small line businessman who runs a shop in Oxford Street, London, and whom the New Delhi police had also charged with match-fixing conspiracy.

Waugh's comment about the Sydney Test, which was his 100th, was that he found it "to be as gruelling a contest" as any he had been involved.

"If that was cricket that wasn't played at 100 percent, then I'm a real bad judge," Waugh said. "I know after that game I had sore ribs, a sore wrist and sore legs from the battering that Allan Donald gave me."