UCB denies blocking selection February 24, 2003

Stewart ready to take on board over 'ban'

Cricinfo staff

Errol Stewart, who recently refused an invitation to lead a South Africa A side to Zimbabwe on moral grounds, now faces a ban after the South Africa board (UCB) made clear it disapproval of his stand. Stewart said his conscience would not allow him to travel to a country that violates human rights.

Stewart, however, has found support from the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) who have sought legal advice on the validity of the UCB's proposal, and a spokesman said that it would not allow the player to be used as a "political football".

"If it emerges that the UCB has instructed the selectors not to consider me again because of my moral stance on Zimbabwe, I would consider taking my case to the Constitutional Court", Stewart said. "This kind of action could be interpreted as a denial of my freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by our constitution."

Omar Henry, the chairman of selectors, denied reports that Gerald Majola, the UCB's chief executive, had ordered him not to consider Stewart for any representative side. He said he had been in touch with Stewart to tell him that his future could not be guaranteed now that he had not made himself available for the tour of Zimbabwe.

"The views Gerald expressed were personal, they were not an instruction to me," Henry claimed. "I have never been instructed not to select Errol again. However, I have spoken to Errol in my own right and told him there could be no guarantees after he turned down selection for the South African A tour. What he has to do now is come back to me and tell me that he wants to be considered for selection again and we would take it from there."