Donald price tag a joke, say Easterns

The 1,000 rand price tag allegedly placed on Allan Donald's head by Easterns coach Ray Jennings was a joke, Easterns president Cassim Suliman has claimed in a report to United Cricket Board chief executive Gerald Majola.

Allan DonaldPhoto Paul McGregor

Donald was struck on the helmet by young Easterns fast bowler Andre Nel during the SuperSport Series Super 8 match against Free State at Willowmoore Park on Sunday, an incident that sparked an extraordinary sequence of events.

Nel burst into tears after felling his boyhood hero, but if he expected sympathy from Jennings, he was mistaken.

"I was really pissed off," Jennings told CricInfo on Tuesday. "His hero ducks into a short one so what does he do? He goes and sobs over him like a girl guide. I told him to pin him with the next ball and pin him again until he didn't get up."

Donald, meanwhile, was taken to hospital were he was found to be suffering from mild concussion to go with a slight dose of tick-bite fever. He was, however, reportedly furious with Jennings for allegedly offering Nel R1000 to knock him down again.

Nel did bowl another short one, which Donald avoided before falling over and leaving the field.

Jennings says that he simply reminded Nel that he was on a R1000-a-week incentive bonus and is completely unphased by the furore that has blown up.

"What's Allan bleating about? He knows what it's all about. He's hit me on the helmet and nobody made a fuss about that. He ducked into a short one. As far as I'm concerned, the bouncer is part of a fast bowler's armoury and it's his job to look for chinks in the batsman's armour and exploit them.

"Is AD getting a bit old or something? Can't he take it any more?" said Jennings.

In reponse to the controversy, Majola called for and received a report from Suliman on Tuesday. In his report, Suliman apparently says that the R1000 price tag was bandied about among the Easterns fielders as a joke and that no official offer was made to Nel by Jennings.

Whether the matter will rest there remains to be seen, but if nothing else the incident has brought Nel squarely into focus as a possible candidate for South Africa's tour of the West Indies in March. And for all the fuss, if some of Jennings' combativeness rubs off on the young man, it may prove to be no bad thing.