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South Africa rethink 'no sin' - Petersen

Firdose Moonda

February 14, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Alviro Petersen was assured on his Test return, South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day, January 3, 2012
Alviro Petersen made a century on his return to international cricket in January © AFP
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Alviro Petersen, South Africa's Test opening batsman, has defended his decision to turn his back on Glamorgan and recommit to an international career. Petersen said it was "no sin" to want to play for South Africa and that his initial acceptance of a Kolpak deal with Glamorgan with the intention of retiring from international cricket was too hasty.

Glamorgan have expressed their discontent with Petersen's change of heart saying they expected him to return to county cricket even though he had been recalled by South Africa.

Three months after he was dumped from South Africa's Test side in October last year, Petersen was picked again and scored a chanceless century against Sri Lanka at Newlands. The innings sealed his place in the side for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, and probably beyond, and caused him to rethink his future.

"When I was left out of the South Africa side, I engaged with Glamorgan about it and the option to join them was there for me at the time," Petersen said. "But in hindsight, it was probably a bit premature. It's no sin or crime to want to play international cricket and that's my first priority."

Petersen has signed a six-week contract with Essex, where he will play before South Africa's tour of England in July. He expressed satisfaction with the switch of counties because he did not want to jeopardise his international future, something he thinks Glamorgan expected him to do. He denied any plans to follow the Kolpak route in the foreseeable future. His contract with Cricket South Africa has been renewed for the 2012-13 season.

Glamorgan's mood was not lightened when Petersen took to Twitter to defend his change of counties. "Happy that some teammates at Glamorgan have told me that i made the right decision in my career and choice of county," he said.

Petersen's story is not unusual for a South African player who has been snubbed by the system -- Jacques Rudolph, who took Petersen's place in the Test side, also went down the Kolpak route - but it does break the trend of the road to England being travelled exclusively by white players. Petersen is one of the first players of colour, after Charl Langevedlt, to express interest in playing as a domestic player in England after struggling to see a future for himself in South Africa.

Rudolph's prolific form - he was the leading run-scorer in last season's SuperSport Series - caused Petersen to believe that he would fall by the wayside even though his international contract ran until March 2012. Initially, he did, and he was left out of South Africa's series against Australia and the first two Tests against Sri Lanka.

At that time, Petersen held discussions with both Cricket South Africa and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA), a fact confirmed by Tony Irish, SACA's chief executive. "Cricket South Africa and I were in discussions with him about not going that route," Irish said. "We want to retain our players."

In the end it was not talk but action that convinced Petersen to stay. Rudolph failed to light up the international stage in the manner expected and Petersen plugged away on the domestic scene. During his time out of the side, he scored three first-class hundreds, including one against the touring Australians on a spicy pitch in Potchefstroom. He was recalled for the New Year's Test and stamped his authority on the opener's spot.

"We went back to Glamorgan after the Test and said that Alviro wanted to continue playing international cricket," Arthur Turner, Petersen's agent said. "Glamorgan accepted that and we regarded the matter as being closed. He committed to South Africa."

Petersen said that his agent approached Glamorgan about the possibility of him playing as an overseas player but they were unable to accommodate that. "We did offer that I would play as an overseas player and Marcus North would have the Kolpak deal but Australian players can't go Kolpak so it didn't work out," he said.

Glamorgan expressed disappointment with Petersen's change of heart, believing themselves used, with Matthew Mott, their Australian coach, saying: "We feel let down because we had a signed agreement in place, which in my world is binding."

Glamorgan have also shaken up their coaching roles for 2012. Mott has been promoted to head of elite performance in charge of first team affairs with Colin Metson, the former managing director of cricket, taking on a broader role of community and cricket development manager. The operations director, Simon Lee, has been made redundant.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 17, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

All these people saying that it's understandable that Petersen would want to play for his country, that's all well and good but, if he did want to play for his country, why did he officially retire? It's not the fact that he's playing for SA that Glamorgan have an issue with. It's the fact that Petersen specifically assured Glamorgan that he was making himself ineligible for selection by SA. If he had told them that he was eligible to play for SA and would do so if selected then they could have planned for that. @TommytuckerSaffa, the Welsh have probably played cricket for the longer than SA but there is no Wales team. It IS a breeding ground for English selection because the "England" team is actually the representative team of the England & Wales Cricket Board, commonly known as the ECB but which probably should be the EWCB.

Posted by Baundele on (February 15, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

I understand Petersen's preference and support it.

Posted by Marktc on (February 15, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Easy to judge but which player would choose county cricket over international cricket? Besides, we do not know the terms of the contract, so from that point of view, we cannot comment. If it were as binding as the coach says, surely they would go the legal route seeing he is playing for Essex?

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 15, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Since when do the welsh play cricket? Sounds more like a breeding pool for England call up. Good for you Petersen, country before Club/IPL, some other players should take note.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (February 15, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

@ Sir_Freddie_Flintoff ... give all the outraged moral high ground stuff a break dude, Glamorgan would drop Petersen in a second if it was in their (business) interest to do so. No player in his right mind would give up a shot at international cricket for a county job in Wales, and you are unreasonable for suggesting he should do so...as for him being a 'poor quality batsman,' his first class record rather shows you up there. Stick to what you know you're talking about.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

You flintoff certainly don`t mean the same anderson and co who were whitewashed by Pakistan?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 15, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Quite right! Who wouldn't jump at a chance to play for your country over a needs-must, let-me-at-least-earn-my-bread & butter contract with a county side? Of course Glamorgan feels let down, but such things happen and if G wishes to resort to the law, well, that is their choice and they may well get legal satisfaction. It won't make them a better side though, will it? @Sir_F_F: pls try to see the bigger picture. Put yourself in Peterson's place... that's called empathy!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 15, 2012, 6:07 GMT)

Petersen is right that his actions don't constitute a sin or a crime (unless there's a breach of contract in there) but he must recognise that they do adversely affect Glamorgan, possibly significantly. If he still wanted to play for SA then why did he retire? Retiring is specifically telling SA that he wants to no longer be considered for selection. It sounds like it was basically a dummy spit that he got dropped and he wanted to be able to say "retired" rather than "dropped". I've got no issue with a player putting national duties ahead of domestic but, again, he specifically told Glamorgan that he was doing the opposite. If Glamorgan knew that he could be recalled to the SA team then they would have acted differently, but he assured them, more than once, that that would not be the case. Either he wanted to play for SA or not. If he did then he shouldn't have retired. I don't think he should turn down SA now. It's his original retirement I have issue with.

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 15, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

What a rediculous attitude by Glamorgan - any cricketer worth his salt will always want to play for his country rather than play in a local competition... Trying to hold back any player from international duties is sacrilege & abhorrent behaviour... So Glamorgan would want Petersen to play for them instead of for SA in the upcoming series... lol... A case of dirty tricks again, I think...

Posted by KingOwl on (February 15, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

Trying to poach players from another country is unethical, and I am glad the county was left in the lurch. I hope England stops the practice. It is like stealing. An act of shame.

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