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Petersen to meet Lions CEO over resignation issue

Firdose Moonda

January 14, 2014

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Alviro Petersen struck nine fours, South Africa v India, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, December 21, 2013
Alviro Petersen stepped down as captain of the Lions due to "interference" from the board and convener of selectors © AFP
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South Africa batsman Alviro Petersen and Greg Fredericks, the CEO of the Lions franchise, will meet on Thursday to resolve the issues over Petersen's resignation as captain of the Lions.

Petersen quit leadership of the team on Sunday morning, shortly before the Lions' match against the Knights, and Thami Tsolekile took over. On Monday night, the Lions announced via a press release that Petersen had officially stepped down "following what he perceived to be interference by the board and convener of selectors."

Fredericks told ESPNcricinfo he is yet to "pinpoint exactly where the interference occurred," which is why he had requested a meeting with Petersen. "This is the last thing we could afford at this stage," Fredericks said. "One thing I can say is that I don't think there is widespread discontent or anything like that, it's limited to certain issues."

Petersen was unwilling to comment until after the meeting but a report in The Star , a reliable daily, claimed his grievance, along with those of "a number of Lions' players and members of the coaching staff," is "over the conduct of (convener of selectors Hussein) Manack." Manack, who is also a national selector, has been accused of "going beyond his scope as selector." The story revealed that there were also claims Manack was involving himself in choosing the final XI and on-field strategy.

According to Fredericks, the flare-up over this occurred during the Ram Slam T20 opener on January 5, when the Lions lost to the Warriors. The Lions were chasing 141 to win and were stuttering on 73 for 4 when Petersen was run out by his partner Gulam Bodi, which a source close to the Lions said sparked Petersen's unhappiness. "A lot of incidents took place during the week after that," Fredericks said, declining to go into detail, "Our chairman Archie Pretorius felt the board needed to sit down with the coach and captain."

The following Saturday, on January 11, the scheduled meeting took place. There, according to Fredericks, "we had a session on role clarification." Present that day were Petersen, Manack, Lions' coach Geoff Toyana and members of the Lions board.

Part of the discussion was establishing, "that the selectors pick the team, the coach prepares them for the match and the captain leads them on the field." It was in that meeting according to Fredericks that Petersen, "felt there was interference from the selectors and said he would step down."

Petersen was convinced to hold back on his decision but only did so until Sunday, when he stepped down before the match. "The board asked Thami to take over," Fredericks said. Petersen played in the match, which the Lions lost by nine wickets.

The following day, Fredericks requested another meeting with Petersen to clear up why he had refused to captain. "Petersen said he was not a puppet, he will not accept interference and won't let someone else tell him the game plan," Fredericks said. "When I asked who determines the batting order and things like that, he said the coach and the captain, so I have not been able to pinpoint what the interference is."

The Lions travel to Paarl to play the Cobras tomorrow and despite the controversy, Fredericks expects Petersen to be part of the team. The competition is still in its early stages but the Lions are bottom of the table with no points to their name.

Their dip in form is severe after they enjoyed their most successful season in seven summers last year when they won the T20 cup, shared the one-day trophy and finished second in the first-class competition. This season, they finished last in the one-day cup but have made good progress in the four-day competition, where they are currently second.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by charles1968 on (January 16, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

If the Lions don't sort their stuff out they will once again start to experience a player exodus. Graeme Smith left to the Cobras many years ago at around 19 years of age due to shoddy management, and Quinton de Kock was on his way to the Dolphins when the eventually woke up and signed him.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (January 15, 2014, 19:53 GMT)

@Charles1968 - yeah - I think whats probably happened here is Petersen has realised if you picking Thami it has to be as a batsman. He is effectively keeping vd Dussen or anothe specialist batter out the side as Quinton is more than capable of keeping in the short formats. Its a problem. Its going to be more of a problem at national level where one gets the feeling Thami has been promised he is next in line if De Villiers cant keep for any reason at test level. I think there are more attractive options now but try tell that to the politicians. Oh what I would do for a development program that just focuses on developing youngsters (regardless of the costs) instead of causing selectorial problems at representative level!

Posted by KhilenNaidoo on (January 15, 2014, 14:57 GMT)

Alviro Petersen, should get a big score to prove his point on interference. All he does is make place saving scores for South Africa as well at an average of 38 as an opener that is just below par.

So as soon as he see's a chance to blame someone else for his poor form he takes it. As a professional he should have taken his complaints to a higher authority, not just drop the team at the last minute.

This action only benefits only him, and in the end the team suffers. This is selfish behaviour and displays the character of Petersen. To me he just wants to get away from the fact that Lions are at the bottom of the table.

Lets see you score a match winning innings either for the Lions of SA then I will believe you that you are a team player and its management that holds you back.

Posted by charles1968 on (January 15, 2014, 8:12 GMT)

Lions or Gauteng cricket has been in turmoil for years. What intrests me is that the Proteas ODI and T20 keeper doesn't play as the keeper anymore. How will this affect international performances. Neil McKenzie would have been the obvious captain to me but he has also had issues with the management in recent years.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (January 15, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

Yeah - the guy comes across as terribly arrogant and full of himself on the radio commentary he does. No surprises that he is at the root of this problem. He had opportunities at provincial level and never really cut it so now trying to live his on field dreams from the side lines?

Posted by wanatawu on (January 15, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

Hussain Manack the worst commentator, these guys will kill SA cricket.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 14, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

It seems clear that Petersen, Toyana and Manack all think they should have the biggest say on the selection of the final XI. I'm guessing there are also disagreements behind the scenes as to whether Tsolekile should be in the T20 team. He's usually used in the longer formats but it was interesting that he didn't play in the first game and then replaced Petersen as captain in the 2nd.

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