School team joins national side August 18, 2006

Another South African team leaves Sri Lanka

Cricinfo staff

Gordon Templeton: unaware of the developments with the school side © Getty Images

The school team of St John's College in Johannesburg has been instructed to return home along with the South African national side mid-day through their tour of Sri Lanka because of the bomb blast in Colombo on Monday.

The St John's College team played a match in Colombo on Thursday, a day after South Africa cancelled its participation in a Sri Lankan tri-series following a bomb blast near their hotel that killed seven people and injured several others.

"We wanted to finish our engagements here and then return home, but our Counsel advised us to return home at the earliest," Richard Venter, the coach, was quoted as saying in Deccan Herald, a Bangalore-based daily. "We had arrived here by Emirates; now because of the change in plans, we have to procure fresh tickets by Singapore Airlines and we are leaving for Johannesburg tonight."

The star batsman of the school side is a Sri Lanka-born player, and the team was keen to carry on playing, but they had no option but to leave once they were instructed to do so by their government. Gordon Templeton, the media manager of the South African cricket team, said he was unaware of the developments as regards the College team. "They aren't affiliated to Cricket South Africa, and therefore have received no advisory from the apex body. Cricket South Africa has no control over the side."

Amid all the controversy surrounding South Africa's decision to return home, the school side had played a match in Colombo. They had already been in Sri Lanka for 10 days and had another week of the tour left when the council ordered them to return home.