Pakistan in SA
Ex-SA legends slam Proteas
Cape Town - The Proteas' failure to wear black armbands to mourn the deaths of Neil Adcock
and Peter van der Merwe
has been slammed as political correctness by former players, according to the Sunday Times' Telford Vice
and Van der Merwe
, who died on January 6 and 23 respectively, played for SA in the apartheid era - when only whites represented the country and only played against other all-white teams.
That, former SA batsmen Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock say, was why their deaths had not been commemorated on the field by the Proteas.
Team management said decisions on black armbands were taken by the players in line with a commitment to respect sensitivities on both sides of SA cricket’s racially riven past.
“It’s time to forgive and forget,” Richards, whose international career was limited to four Tests because of apartheid, said.
“We can’t keep up this pretence that there was no cricket before 1992 (when SA played their first Test after 22 years of apartheid-induced isolation).”
Richards said he was a victim of apartheid.
“I was three years old when the National Party came in to power in 1948, but I’ve paid the penalty.
“They keep talking about disadvantaged people - no-one’s more disadvantaged than Graeme (Pollock) and me. We couldn’t have Test cricket and we’re not recognised now.
“It was a sad part of our history, but let’s acknowledge that the guys who were good in that era were good, and when they die we respect them. It would be nice if the team did that.
Pollock, who played 23 Tests before SA were kicked out of world cricket in 1970, was officially recognised as the country’s “Cricketer of the Century” in 2000. He concurred with Richards.
“It (the lack of black armbands for Adcock and Van der Merwe) is in line with the thinking that anything that happened pre-1992 doesn’t get any credit or wasn’t part of the system,” Pollock said.
“Everybody who has played for SA has made a contribution and those two gentlemen certainly made a contribution.
“You’ve got to close the gap between the pre-92 era and the current scenario. In Australia, all ex-cricketers are rewarded and thanked for their contribution.”
Adcock, who took 104 wickets at an average of 21.10 in his 26 Tests, was among the most feared fast bowlers of the 1950s and early 1960s.
Van der Merwe captained SA to their first Test series win in England, in 1965.