South Africa news January 3, 2013

Kallis reopens death penalty debate

Jacques Kallis has called for a debate on the restoration of the death penalty in South Africa after the murder of a former first-class cricketer with strong links to the team.

John Commins, the uncle of a former Test player with the same name, and father of a players' agent, was killed on Wednesday night. Flags at Newlands were flown at half-mast on the second day of the Test match against New Zealand in his honour.

Kallis posted a message on twitter after the day's play which read: "Thoughts and prayers with @DonneCommins and family. Tragic news. Something really has to be done about the crime in this country #deathpenalty."

Donne Commins, daughter of the murdered man, is the agent of many prominent players including Morne and Albie Morkel, Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher, Kallis' best friend who was forced to retire after a freak eye injury last July.

Boucher was due to enjoy a farewell parade on the third day of the Test, which he has asked to postpone because of the murder.

Cricket South Africa had planned to honour Boucher on his career and help promote his Save the Rhino foundation which is focused on anti-poaching. He was also going to conduct media interviews for only the second time since his retirement. Instead, Boucher's tribute will now be held next month during the Pakistan Test in Cape Town.

"Donne has been very close to me for most of my career and has been much more to me than a business partner," Boucher said in a statement. "She has been incredibly supportive over the past few months in particular during which time she has been a tremendous pillar of support."

The South African sporting community has been rocked by two deaths in the space of two days: Commins, who played 10 first-class matches for Western Province, and Olympic cyclist Burry Stander who was killed in a hit-and-run accident while on his bicycle in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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