West Indies v South Africa, 3rd Test, Barbados, 4th day June 30, 2010

Steyn, Gayle play down mid-pitch hostilities

Cricinfo staff

Man of the Series Dale Steyn and West Indies captain Chris Gayle played down the mid-pitch hostilities that threatened to go out of hand during the course of the third Test between West Indies and South Africa. South Africa won the Test and with it the series 2-0, but the cricketing action took a back seat as two ugly incidents marred the proceedings on the third and fourth days in Barbados.

Steyn was at the centre of the first flare-up, as he appeared to spit in the direction of Sulieman Benn who got close to and laughed at Steyn when he was dismissed. The second run-in involved Kemar Roach who repeatedly went up to Jacques Kallis after hitting him with a bouncer and exchanged words. The stand-off threatened to escalate and required the intervention of the umpires and West Indies fielders to come under control. So far, match referee Jeff Crowe has not come out with punishments for the players involved.

Steyn attributed the tension to the high stakes involved for both teams at the end of a long tour. "Everybody seemed to swell up in the heat of the moment," Steyn told AFP. "We have been away from home for a long time, five months, and this was the last game. West Indies knew that they needed to win the game to level the series, and we knew we needed to win this game to win the series, so things are going to happen. That's just part of the game."

Gayle abstained from passing judgment on the incidents and said it was for the referee to handle. "If anything needs to be dealt with I am sure the match referee and the on-field umpires will actually take that into play," Gayle said.

"The spirit and sportsmanship was good leading up to this match. It's just unfortunate in the end, where we had a bit of a boil up. It is cricket and you have to be hostile sometimes. If you can give it out, then you should take it. That's how I look at it," he said.

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  • Robin on July 5, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    An interesting debate fellow bloggers. Always a delicate subject when racial issues are involved. It's niave to say that white South Africans can't be racist because apartheid ended when they were children. Whether Steyn is that way inclined, i couldn't honestly tell you, but let's be honest, in the heat of a volitile situation, tempers are lost and the worst side of our human instincts come out to play, nature of the beast i'm afraid. Big-Benn has a reputation for provoking opposition players and as long as it doesn't cross the line, it's all part and parcel. If that line is crossed, then you'd hope that the Umpires and Match Referees will punish those involved accordingly. Justice doesn't always prevail, but such is the Political bias that we live in. We've all fallen foul from competitive stress, in the same way as road rage. Some of the nicest people i know turn into the most immature and ill-tempered idiots, during a heated exchange, under competitive circumstances.

  • ronald on July 4, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    Hazeltine is on target. Bang-on! as we used to say on Leg 1 island, Essequibo County/River/Islands...What steyn did was demeaning n despicable. Luckily, he wasnt cuffed off the ground.

  • Michael on July 4, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    I totally agree with you Alan Alleyne.This Garethjohndry is telling himself that because Apartheid ended sometime ago ,that all is well and the vast majority of South Africans have been able to move on.Garethjohndry,although Aparatheid has OFFICIALLY ended ,the vast majority of white South Africans still believe in it,and YOU KNOW THAT,some of them still practise it,although it is against the law NOW!and YOU KNOW THAT!In South Afrca in the year 2010, the vast majority of whites if not all, still feel that whites are superior to blacks,and YOU KNOW THAT!It is the vast majority of blacks who NOW have a chance to move on,and the vast majority of whites HATE THAT!and YOU KNOW THAT!Kemar Roach is young and friendly,too friendly ,and I can only imagine how far he must have been pushed by Kallis,to have reacted in such a way to have been fined.In SA rugby,blacks have to be considered and included,it is now the LAW! and .as far as I know,football is mainly a black sport.

  • Len on July 4, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    First of all, I am SICK TO DEATH of being told as a black man that black people " have a chip on their shoulder" when they openly discuss racist attitudes. The fact is that Steyn openly spat near a WIndian player and that can be construed by black people as showing scant respect towards them, it is as simple as that and even though he was very young when Apatheid ended, it is thoroughly stupid to say that Steyn would not have practised it. Though this is an inept WIndies side, they should be given credit by WIndian supporters for standing up to the boorish sledging of South Africans, Mr Kallis and Mr Steyn, IF YOU CAN'T TAKE IT, DON'T DISH IT OUT!

  • Michael on July 2, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    Hey! Mr.Kallis,think Kemar Roach is fiery?Just wait until we tour SA again for the tests .Here in Barbados we have another 2 that are faster and rearing to go!WAIT AND SEE! or do you plan to retire by then?@SurlyCynic,I dont understand your statement about Stein being kept out of the attack when Benn was batting!Didnt this incident happened in the 4th innings?@PienkZuit,besause Stein was 10 when apartheid OFFICALLY ended,doesnt mean he and others dont believe in and practise apartheid,big man!People in 2010 still believe in and practise apartheid all over the WORLD ,even in SA cricket .

  • Gareth on July 2, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    Alan Alleyne, please go back to the dark ages where you obviously come from. The vast majority of South Africans, black and white, have been able to move on from the dark days of apartheid as the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and now the Football World Cup must have shown all relatively intelligent people. The decision of the match referee has nothing to do with black or white. Benn is a proven trouble maker, and I can only imagine how far Dale must have been pushed to have reacted in that fashion - so far out of character for him. It was inexcusable, he has been fined, now lets move on. Perhaps one day you will grow up, study your history, and actually move away from race. Somehow I doubt that. Pull your head out, mate, and join the Rainbow Nation!

  • Monique on July 2, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    Mr. Alleyne, please refrain from posting ridiculous comments on topics that you clearly know NOTHING about i.e. apartheid!!! Absurd that you would even mention that!

  • Duncan on July 1, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    C'mon Allan Alleyne just take a look at who got fined what to see who was punished for their actions before you start saying black this and white that. Steyn was fined 100% of his match fee for being downright rude, Benn was fined nothing for goading him (which is part of the game). But in my view both of them overstepped the mark. SAfrican cricket has always had a strong relationship and affinity for WIndies, the guys we hate are the Aussies and the English (BTW).

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    It's highly unlikely Dale Steyn participated in apartheid. He was 11 when it ended. Also the actions speak for themselves. Steyn was docked 100% of his match fee. Roach was docked 50%. You'll also find a lot of players that can "give it" but not "take it". And that includes most of the current West Indies line up.

  • Pienk on July 1, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    @Alan Alleyne : Dale Steyn was 10 years old when Apartheid anded with the first democratic elections in South Africa. Saying he "believed in" and "practised" Apartheid is more than a little absurd. That's like saying all English believed in and took part in killing more than 26 000 women and children in concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer war. Or that all German people are Nazis.

    Yes, the situation on the field got out of hand. Yes, video shows Steyn spitting while leaving. Unacceptable, even if just for being bad manners. But if you are objective, he might have just been relieving himself of saliva at an ill judged moment; impossible to know the motivation behind it. Jumping to conclusions about his motivation, especially such an emotionally charged conclusion, is not warranted.

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