South Africa news January 14, 2014

Alviro Petersen steps down as Lions captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Batsman Alviro Petersen has stepped down as captain of Lions, due to what he perceived as interference by the Board and the convener of selectors, the franchise has said. The wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has taken over the captaincy for the remaining Ram Slam T20 games.

A franchise press release said that prior to Lions' match against Warriors in Cape Town on January 5, "several events within the team scenario" led to a situation where the chairman of Lions Cricket, Archie Pretorius, instructed the convener of selectors, Hussein Manack, to meet with the captain and the coach in order to clarify their roles and responsibilities. The franchise said that Petersen perceived this as "interference" by the board and selectors and decided to step down, despite efforts to convince him against it. Petersen told his team-mates on the morning of the match of his decision.

Petersen, however, led the side for the match and scored 9. Tsolekile took over the captaincy from the next match against Knights at Bloemfontein. Lions, however, lost both games and now sit at the bottom of the points table.

"It came as a bit unexpected but, as a professional, one must always be able to step up to the plate when your name is called," said Tsolekile, who was appointed on Sunday morning. "I have led the team before and have always enjoyed this. I will try my best to carry on in the footsteps of Alviro."

Coach Geoff Toyana said Petersen's presence as a senior in the team will still be invaluable. "I want to thank Alviro for his leadership and contribution as captain, on and off the field, over the past few years," Toyana said. "Knowing Alviro as a professional, he will continue to be a great asset to the team as a senior player."

Greg Fredericks, Lions CEO, said Petersen's decision was unexpected. "I also want to thank Alviro for his leadership over the past few years when the Lions achieved the most success in recent times. We do however have to look forward as we still have two competitions in which we want to do well. I also want to thank Thami for agreeing to take over the captaincy at such short notice."