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Lions reject claims of board interference

Firdose Moonda

January 16, 2014

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Alviro Petersen plays one of his favourite shots, Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day, November 9, 2012
'I wish to finally put this episode behind me, and focus on playing cricket' - Alviro Petersen © Getty Images
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The Lions have rejected claims of undue interference by their board in on-field matters but have not managed to convince South Africa Test opener Alviro Petersen to reconsider his decision to step down as captain. Petersen quit the captaincy on Sunday after what the Lions said "he perceived to be interference by the board and convener of selectors," - something the franchise says they have no evidence of.

On Wednesday, Lions' CEO Greg Fredericks told ESPNcricinfo he had "yet to pinpoint where the interference occurred," but understood Petersen's unhappiness to be centered on a meeting called by the Lions chairman Archie Pretorius. The discussion was held on Saturday and included Petersen, Pretorius, Lions' coach Geoff Toyana and convener of selectors Hussein Manack, who is also a national selector. Manack presented a "role clarification," session, which explained the responsibilities of the coach, captain and selectors.

According to Fredericks, Petersen saw the meeting as "interference from the selectors and offered to step down." He was asked to reconsider but on Sunday, Petersen told the board he was going to quit the captaincy. Thami Tsolekile took over hours before the match against the Knights.

Fredericks and Petersen met today to clear up issues surrounding his resignation and "put to bed" all concerns, as stated in a Lions' press release. "We have put the issue behind us and we want to move forward in the best interests of cricket," Fredericks said.

"Alviro requested me to clarify the perception that was created in the media that the CEO of Lions Cricket stated that he could find no evidence of interference by the selectors," Fredericks said. "In all my interviews with the media I mentioned that I could find no evidence or incidents of interference by the Board other than Alviro's view that the meeting convened by Hussein Manack on the instruction of the Chairperson of the Lions Board, in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 11 January was such."

Despite that, Petersen has opted not to rescind his decision to step down and the Lions have accepted his relinquishing the captaincy. "We respect Alviro's decision to resign as captain," Fredericks said. "All parties have now agreed to close the chapter on this matter and not to comment any further on it."

Petersen will continue playing for the Lions under Tsolekile, as he did in Wednesday's match against the table-topping Cobras. "I wish to finally put this episode behind me, and focus on playing cricket," Petersen said. "I want to congratulate Thami on his appointment as Lions' captain and wish him all the best."

The Lions, who are defending the ongoing Ram Slam T20 competition, are at the bottom of the points table after losing all three of their matches. Their next fixture is against the Titans on Friday in Potchefstroom.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by KhilenNaidoo on (January 21, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

he will fail more often as a batsman than play a match saving / winning innings. Alviro Petersen sadly is struggling (averaging 38 after 50 innings) with his judgment in length, this happens to many rigid cricketers (less wrist work) who always look to master techniques out of books or from coaches. But what most cricketers forget to do is adapt their learning's with a bit of individual flair of their own, be more flexible with their wrists. As one gets older they stopping playing certain shots due and they stick to the ones they know best (ones you can play with your eyes closed). This was clear with Kallis and Tendulkar. Alviro at this stage in his career is a LBW candidate, as he can not adjust to a moving ball over the last 40cm, he plays it on prediction rather than seeing it under his eyes. As an opener he won't last long as the new ball moves more. Sadly rigid text book cricketers don't have long careers and with his attitude he should not try to attract much attention,

Posted by KhilenNaidoo on (January 20, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

I just had good laugh reading some of the comments on this page. Alviro Petersen is a weak leader, he showed this when he stepped down claiming interference and he abandoned his team mates. The commanding of authority and the listening to a captain is normal in South African cricket that has been instilled in players from Primary School level. Alviro will never lead the SA team neither will he last the year playing for SA. Mistakes by Alviro: He should have continued to captain and address his complaints in a professional manner to higher authorities. Even if he had no choice he made the biggest mistake a captain can make: 1. As a captain he jumped onto the life boat first and left without warning. 2. After a sit down and talk he still refused to lead the team. Even when he plays for SA he bats to save his place. One can clearly see his flaws whilst he bats, and it's not difficult for opponents to get him out early. No doubt lightening can strike and he will score a 100, but

Posted by juman123 on (January 18, 2014, 0:02 GMT)

Alviro has turned cubs(2011) to lions. I've noticed the respect he commands on the field and if he was sa captain, we would be considered one of the greatest ever cricket sides.However lets not turn this into an affirmative action debate.There are many more failed white selections that have played a significant number of tests than players of colour. Dippenaar,Rudolph, adam Bacher try to think of non white batsmen and bowlers playing a significant number of tests that have failed.Cat got your tongue maybe duminy but he bowls. What about the outcry among certain quarters when ntini and amla were selected.Why wasnt there an outcry about the delay in selecting philander despite having a first class bowling average of 19 at the time. Perhaps we will finaly get the message when Siphe Mzaidume the south african born paceman takes his 500th wicket for england. The problem is not the colour in sa cricket but the lack of it.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

Same again POLITICS. We never hear commentators make adverse comments about our perceived quota/no quota system. Why?? because they work in the environment & its all about MY JOB. 10 2 1 Thami needs to get back to wickey because De Kock cannot perform for 90 overs a day. I heard one commentator mention that. How many overs are played in SUNFOIL matches. 96 maybe. But the real reason is Thami to play wickey in tests v Australia. Orders of government no doubt. Latest Inside Edge comments are all about the public being conditioned to the fact that ONE BLACK PLAYER MUST PLAY. If we are going to have quotas then PLEASE JUST SPELL THEM OUT SO ALL CAN HEAR/SEE/KNOW what to expect.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 17, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

Yes, QDK should move to another franchise where he can keep regularly. Maybe the Dolphins next season with Van Wyk near the end of his career?

@charles1968: I don't really understand this business of Thami being 'promised' a spot in the national team. Was Albie Morkel promised a spot if he performed in his only test? Were Abbott and De Lange promised selection if they took 5-fers on test debut? Surely if you are in the best 11 players you play, if not you don't. Noone else seems to get these promises. But for the Lions De Kock has been keeping in T20 and Thami was keeping in 4 dayers. But now De Kock doesn't keep at all and Thami bats at 6 in the T20 team - very strange as he is not a big hitter. De Kock must leave for the sake of his career.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (January 17, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

Yeah I dont buy a conspiracy against De Kock.

But - the obsession with putting Thami's case forward will put De Kocks (and others) commitment to the Lions at risk. That is the bottom line.

I feel for Thami if promises were made and broken. Players come and go and youngsters can pass you by. Wicketkeeping is a tough spot becuase there can be only one. Morne Van Wyk, Heino Kuhn, Thami Tsolikil all played in the Boucher era and thats tough. Some (Kruger) recognised that they may have a better shot elsewhere and left. Coming second to Boucher and De Villiers is not something to be ashamed of.

The reality is if you picking Thami in the Lions T20 side now it is because you feel he is a better batting option then anyone else available. I guess specifically vd Dussen. I dont believe that is true. And you cant pick a captain first - he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet. That simply cannot be true in this instance.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

What is it about the Gauteng area and their inability to manage the codes of rugger and cricket? The "richest" union, but sooo much backroom politics. Time for De kock to find a new home. He is the national keeper (elect) and he does not keep for his franchise? Craziness personified. He is young and needs to gain experience with the gloves. What are you doing to the young man's confidence? Thami, for all his wonderful credentials, is not going to make the national side ahead of either De Villiers OR De Kock (even Vilas for that matter). His batting is not in the same league. Without Kallis in the test set up, we need a keeper that can bat in the top order. Get over it and look toward the future of SA cricket.

Posted by charles1968 on (January 17, 2014, 7:30 GMT)

I'm not so sure that there is anything untoward against de Kock, I just think that there was more interference than we are being led to believe. Gauteng crickets management has to be seen to be believed!! Thami was made promises when AB took over the wicket keeping duties which were never fulfilled. mc Kenzie was the obvious replacement but he has had his own issues with Gauteng cricket in the past. Think back how many times in the last 8 years has Gauteng changed captaind mid season. HD Ackerman, Mc Kenzie and the selfsame Tsolekile have all been replaced at one time or another. Players are going to leave this province. Mean machine it no longer is especially from a management point of view.

Posted by wanatawu on (January 17, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

Qdk must look at other franchises cose everybody can see there are forces at work to try and promote Thami to get in the national squad. I hope this doesn't happen.

Posted by Spudatsea on (January 17, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

We need more info. I don't believe Alviro stepped down just because somebody called a meeting. What did they want, what was said? The board need to answer that.

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