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The Namibian Cricket Board has angrily rejected claims that its players racially abused members of the Bermudan team during matches between the two sides last week.
Reports had appeared in the Bermudan media that Gus Logie, the Bermuda coach, had withdrawn his players from the field in the second of two one-day games after a tailender had been subjected to a barrage of bouncers. There were claims that there were then altercations between individuals, and a post-match press conference with Logie and Andy Waller, Namibia's coach, was also fractious.
In a statement, Francois Erasmus, the chairman of the Namibian board, said: "The belated attempt to offer racial abuse as a reason for the unheard of conduct of Bermuda to concede an one-day match, is rejected with the contempt it deserves. The allegations are simply devoid of all truth and has no substance whatsoever.
"Not once during the first day's play, nor thereafter, was any complaint raised by any member of the Bermudan squad regarding hostility or of racial abuse by any member of the Namibian team towards them. Similarly no report was received from the two umpires on the field When Logie called his players off the field his only comment was that he is not willing to expose his batsmen to the danger of injuries. No report of whatsoever nature regarding racial abuse or other unsavioury remarks were made to either umpire, nor to any official of the ICC or the Namibia Cricket Board at the time. Had there been any untoward conduct of any nature by any Namibian player, save for some intimidatory bowling, it would most certainly have been reported by the umpires, one of whom is a Bermudian himself."
Erasmus added that the more serious claims did not surface until the day after the match, by which time the ICC had called for an investigation into Bermuda's walk off. "This is clearly a smoke screen raised to cover for the unsportmanlike behaviour of the Bermudans themselves. Many a team in world cricket, including Namibia, have been on the receiving end of a decent hiding, but one has to deal with that and learn from the experience. To call off your players whilst your batsmen have the protection of the umpires is simply unthinkable. To then start looking for excuses other than the standard of your own play on the day, is even more deplorable."
He also dismissed suggestions that there was ill feeling between the sides as a result of the ICC Trophy in July. Had there been any problems it defies logic that the Bermuda Cricket Board would have approached the Namibia Cricket Board to play the two friendly matches. The matches were used as opportunity to expose a few of the promising youngsters of Namibian cricket to a taste of the next level. It seems as if this was even more demoralising to the Bermudans given that at one stage of play ,they were being opposed by two 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds and a 19-year old. If Namibia was out to prove a point, as is alleged by Logie, the selectors would have pushed their strongest team on to the pitch."
"We do not tolerate unsportmanlike behaviour, nor any form of racial abuse or inequality. Having consulted all our players subsequent to the incident we are satisfied that our players' conduct was at all times within acceptable levels of competiveness, and that they are not guilty of any form of unsavioury behaviour. This is corroborated by the report of the umpires, which makes nonsense of the defamatory accusations of Bermuda."