Nicky Boje makes a point: 'They [Warne and Murali] are good, but take them out of the picture and see what world cricket
is left with'
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Nicky Boje, who announced his retirement from international cricket
earlier in the week, has slammed South Africa's selection policies, and
expressed fears that there could be something of an exodus once the World
Cup squad is named early in 2007.
"Enough is enough," he said in an interview with Rapport, an
Afrikaans Sunday paper. "I'm fed up with reading in newspapers and hearing
on a daily basis that I am not good enough, that I am not Warne or Murali.
They are good, but take them out of the picture and see what world cricket
is left with."
Boje was named in the Test squad for the series against India, but it's
thought that comments made by Haroon Lorgat, convener of the selection
panel, triggered his decision to retire. "The time comes when you have to
ask yourself where you are going and where your loyalties lie," said Boje.
"And mine are not with the Proteas anymore. The last straw was Lorgat's
comment that apart from our spinners, our bowling attack is on par with
Australia. There was a long build-up to my retirement, but it was still a
difficult decision as I feel I still have a lot to offer the country."
Boje's relationship with Graeme Smith, captain since 2003, has frequently
been an uneasy one, and it was noted in many quarters that he communicated
his decision to retire to Tony Irish, of the players' union, and Gerald
Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive. Lorgat and Mickey Arthur,
the coach, were not initially informed. "Haroon did try to phone me," says
Boje, "but unfortunately I missed the call."
Lorgat's unflattering comments about South African slow bowlers had come
after a shock recall for Paul Adams, and Boje admitted that it was a
decision that did little for the morale of other spinners in the country.
"We have got spinners that can do a good job for SA," he said. "Claude
Henderson, Con de Lange, Paul Harris and Johan Botha have got the
potential to do well. Thandi Tshabalala is still young, but with the right
leadership, he can become a factor. He just needs to know he's got the
"It's funny that they say we don't have spinners of quality in the
country, but yet the spinners are the leading wicket-takers in domestic
cricket. I will share my experience with the young spinners in the
country, but for now I'm focusing all my attention on the Eagles. They,
after all, pay my salary."
Boje clearly feels that he never had the support from those that matter.
"They treated me poorly," he says frankly, and another player quoted in
the article also spoke of poor channels of communication between the
selection panel and the players. "You never know what is expected of you
or what your role should be," said the player, name withheld by request.
"And you never know for sure that, despite a good performance, you will
play in the next match."
With the so-called quota system the source of considerable disquiet -
Kevin Pietersen weighs in with a comment every other week, or so it seems
- Boje fears that things will only get worse. "I feel sorry for [someone
like] Boeta Dippenaar," he said. "It can happen that some players decide
to play overseas once the World Cup squad is selected, and they're not in
it. With this uncertainty about their places, I get the idea that some
players only play for themselves. That's not healthy for cricket in South
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo