South African fast bowler rewarded for form May 19, 2008

Zondeki handed SA national contract

Cricinfo staff

Monde Zondeki: 'In the end I just didn't want there to be any more controversy' © Getty Images
Monde Zondeki looks set to tour England in July and August this year, after being awarded a national contract by the South African board for 2008-09. The offer was originally made to Charl Langeveldt, but he has since quit the international scene to pursue a career in county cricket with Derbyshire.

"We are sorry to lose a player of Charl's calibre who has given excellent service to South Africa over a long period of time," said Cricket South Africa's CEO, Gerald Majola. "He is currently playing the best cricket of his career and we all have fond memories of his five-wicket haul on Test match debut against England and his hat-trick against West Indies in 2005 that not only won an ODI but a series. It was one of the memorable moments in South African cricket history."

Langeveldt's final days in the South African squad were less memorable, however. He was selected to tour India with the Test squad in April, but withdrew belatedly because he felt undermined by South Africa's quota system. A minimum of five players of colour were required in the 14-man squad, so Andre Nel, who is currently playing for Essex, was omitted and Langeveldt was called up in his place. However, after much deliberation, Langeveldt withdrew, saying he didn't feel mentally ready to take part.

Zondeki was instead given the final quota place, a situation that he didn't feel entirely comfortable with, even though his form in first-class cricket - 54 wickets at 20.16 for the Cape Cobras in 2007-08 - more than merited a call-up. "It wasn't easy for me to accept my selection for that tour," he told the Birmingham Post. "Not easy at all. It was an awkward way to be selected. It wasn't the way I'd hoped it would happen. It wasn't an easy decision to go. In the end I just didn't want there to be any more controversy."

Zondeki didn't end up playing in the series, which was drawn 1-1, but having signed for Warwickshire for the start of the 2008 season, he is now well placed to resume a Test career that began at Headingley five years ago, where he unexpectedly made 59 in his debut innings to help set up a 191-run victory. "We are delighted that Monde has accepted the vacant contract," said Majola. "He fully deserves it after an outstanding season for the Cape Cobras that earned him a national call-up for the Proteas recent Test tour of India."

South Africa contracted players for 2008-09 Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Monde Zondeki.