Leie injury prompts Lions, CSA to bend quota rules
CSA bent their quota rules after a last-minute injury to a black African player meant the Lions could not meet the stipulated guidelines that compel every franchise to field at least six players of colour, of whom three must be black African, in every XI.
Legspinner Eddie Leie, one of the Lions' three black Africans, was ruled out after sustaining a niggle during the warm-ups ahead of their match against the Titans in Centurion. The Lions had only travelled with 12 players, and their reserve was Rassie van der Dussen, an opening batsman who is white.
The Lions had to contact CSA to explain van der Dussen's inclusion before naming him in the team. "We cleared it with all the relevant CSA officials and they had full understanding for the situation," a Lions' insider told ESPNcricinfo.
Had CSA not given their permission, Lions' coach Geoffrey Toyana. who is black African, was ready to make a comeback to fulfill the selection criteria. Toyana, also a batsman, has not played competitively since his retirement in 2011 but has 84 first-class matches and 71 List A games to his name.
As luck would have it, Toyana did make an appearance when his team lost bowler Carmi le Roux to a hamstring niggle. Toyana fielded until the Lions were able to get a replacement from the spectator's banks. William Wentzel, a student at the Sport School of Excellence Academy in Pretoria, was watching the match with his friends when they were approached to provide their best fielder. Wentzel, who is white, wore Leie's kit while on the field.
In a rain-affected game, the Lions had the Titans 240 for 6 after 35 overs and were 74 for 1 after 10.1 overs in their reply when no further play was possible.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent