Jacques Rudolph, one of the men unwittingly cast at the centre of the storm currently tearing South African cricket apart, flew home on Monday to say that he still hoped to play for his country.

Rudolph was originally chosen to play in the third Test match in Sydney before United Cricket Board president Percy Sonn intervened to force the selectors to change their side. As a result, Rudolph was replaced by his room-mate Justin Ontong in a late adjustment to the team. South Africa lost the Test by 10 wickets as Australia completed a 3-0 whitewash of the series.

Rudolph was omitted from the one-day squad to play in a triangular tournament against Australia and New Zealand to complete a thoroughly unhappy episode in the career of the 20-year-old. At the end of November he played for South Africa against India at SuperSport Park in a match that has not been granted Test status.

In a carefully worded statement issued on Rudolph's behalf by the Northerns Cricket Union on Monday, Rudolph says he is obviously disappointed not to have played in the Sydney Test.

"I do, however, not wish to involve myself in any political or selection policy debate and quite simply just wish to continue playing the game I love," said Rudolph.

I do believe, however that, should I be able to perform consistently on the field of play, my chance to represent my country at the highest level will surely come."

Sonn also returned to South Africa on Monday. On Tuesday he is to attend a UCB executive committee meeting at which his actions in Australia as well as his comments regarding former South African captain Hansie Cronje will be discussed.