Ntini decision 'sensitive'

2010-01-02 15:39

Cape Town - South African captain Graeme Smith acknowledged on Saturday that a decision on whether to drop veteran fast bowler Makhaya Ntini for Sunday's third Test against England at Newlands went beyond purely cricketing issues.

Ntini, the only black African in the South African team, is under fire after taking only two wickets in the first two Tests.

He had figures of none for 114 in his team's innings defeat in the second Test in Durban and there have been calls for him to be replaced by Friedel de Wet, who took four wickets as England slipped close to defeat in the first Test in Centurion.

Smith echoed coach Mickey Arthur in saying that the selectors faced a tough decision. He said he wouldn't be part of the decision.

"As far as I know, the selection process is that Mickey will have the final call on the eleven," said Smith.

"The selectors pick the squads. I have an input but since I've been captain I haven't had a vote on the selection."

Smith said he expected to have a final team by Saturday evening after a meeting between Arthur and the selectors, but said the eleven would only be announced shortly before play on Sunday.

Asked whether dropping Ntini would be a sensitive issue, Smith said: "It's a sensitive issue in South Africa. That's being honest.

"Makhaya is an icon to the country. He's not only the most iconic player of colour we've had, he's also been one of the most iconic cricketers in terms of performance over the last decade."

Smith indicated that the struggles of Ntini, who has taken 390 wickets in 101 Tests, presented challenges for the team management.

"When senior players are at the point where a lot of questions are being asked about them it's always a tough time for a leadership group to manage.

"We've always tried to support Makhaya as much as we can behind the scenes and he's been working hard on his game. Let's hope there's some confidence left in him for the future."

Smith said it was a crucial match for his team, who are one-nil down in the four-match series, but said the situation was not greatly different to what they had faced in the past.

"Look, over the last period of time we've had many, many important Test matches," he said.

"You can't afford to take any for granted. Obviously in this series, with us being one down, this is a crucial match but we play and prepare for each Test match the same. We're ready for tomorrow(Sunday).

"We were outplayed in Durban, we are honest about that. We've had a look in the mirror, we've trained well, prepared well and it's a ground we've got a lot of confidence on."

History is on South Africa's side. They have won 14 of the most recent 18 Tests at Newlands and have come back from 1-0 deficits twice in the past three seasons to win home series - against India 2006/07 and the West Indies in 2007/08.

But Smith admitted that South Africa had slipped from the high standards they set when they won away series against England and Australia in 2008.

He said an emphasis on limited overs cricket, with a view to this year's World Twenty20 and next year's World Cup, had resulted in changes in personnel and a shift in focus.

"It's difficult to put your finger on the little thing that is missing," he said.

"As a team, the style of play hasn't changed. Maybe players haven't produced the level of performance that we have over those (previous) two years. It's important that we get back to that, starting tomorrow(Sunday)."


  • shaun - 2010-01-02 15:54


  • Imboro - 2010-01-02 15:58

    Get over it you clowns...if the player is not good enough drop him, keep him if he is measuring up to the standards needed...when you gonna stand up like real men and tell the interfering politicians who are just incompetent idious to jump off the sport is there to be won. not play the race want to lose supporters and find reasons for playing like devilliers half baked second string teams he puts onto a field then acrry on...SA sports will be a cock complaints in soccer about the lack of whites so stop acting like ANC puppets

  • Fattie - 2010-01-02 16:11

    Greame mabe you have to drop your self because you do not contibute either. Makhaya is to old now to play anymore he need to go to the bay and develop cricket in the black community so that we can have a new Black bowler.After 15 years of democracy and couler is still a issue shame for this f up country. Let the best players play no colour.

  • jla - 2010-01-02 16:20

    shut up Smith, sick of hearing from you. You're being quoted all the time saying 'we never took it to the next level after 2008'. what a load of drivel...'next level'. If you idiots had even maintained anywhere near the SAME level our cricket wouldn't be in such a state. I look forward to Micky's retirement after the series (because no one has the b**** to fire him now). Big changes need to be made now, without regret. Even if we miraculously scrape through the next two tests it will hardly make up for the humiliation of going from heros to zeros in one season.

  • GeePMB - 2010-01-02 16:28

    Sensitive BOLLOCKS. I bet if anyone asked Makkie, he would say,"pick me if I am the best not for any other reason" Stop thios damn politicking. Makkie knows he isn't playing well and as a professional sportsman am quite sure he would stand down for the good of the team and not want to be picked/dropped for any other reason.

  • Gemsbok - 2010-01-02 16:45

    Yip, it's a tough decision. Why dont the selectors ask Julius Malema to come and play in Ntini's place. He's mouth is big enough and will be very handy as a wicket keeper.

  • B BOB - 2010-01-02 16:46

    Ntini must go! Its time to give new bouler a chance!!He done South africa pround but he not performing anymore!!Give Parnell a chance!

  • haha - 2010-01-02 16:47

    hey man and woman - they ALL bowled k** in durban. keep the same team and then we can see who is expendable.

  • B BOB - 2010-01-02 16:52

    Since Neil left the Proteas,they have gone backwards!!He was the brain behind Proteas and not Smith!!Drop Smith as captain and get Neil BACK!

  • ono - 2010-01-02 16:57

    "Makhaya is an icon to the country. Total junk...........a good cricketer that's all.

  • Griffin - 2010-01-02 17:02

    Why do we always have to start, when we in trouble looking for non white players to drop. Yes I agree that Ntini has not been playing well but how many other white players have been kept in the team even though they could have been replace by non white players. Keep telling yourselves we have to pick the best team irrespective of colour, with our country's history and 90% black population i wonder who's going to believe you.

  • nyoni - 2010-01-02 17:03

    select the best 11 to win, Kla. If you cant then move aside for thase who can. SA needs to watch winning teams.

  • mike lagos - 2010-01-02 17:04

    Perfom and be in the team. Theres nothing wrong with being benched or dropped for loss of form.

  • Quicky - 2010-01-02 17:05

    I agree with geePMB, Makhaya will definately feel uncomfortable playing as a "symbolic" player wilst he is not on form. You play tests at a highly competitive level and its winner takes all, there is no place for sentiment, take the example of Ricky Ponting and the Australians in general of their uncompromising competitve nature. Andrew Strauss would not allow injured Grahame Smith off the field for treatment. You pick a team to win a test and there should be no other external factors to consider otherwise you should not be playing test cricket

  • Matt Nel - 2010-01-02 17:13

    What rubbish and Smith with his "sensitive" comments is creating a issue about race which shouldnt be the case - the choice should be made to drop him for the benefit for the whole team and country. If a player is not playing well regardless of colour drop them - there is no sense to keeping people in the team just because of colour if they below international levels. Surely non whites on this forum would agree with this common sense?

  • John Wewege - 2010-01-02 17:13

    "But Smith admitted that South Africa had SLIPPED FROM THE HIGH STANDARDS they set when they won away series against England and Australia in 2008." Ntini should be dropped and repaced by a bowler that is in form and able to take wickets! Standards set should be maintained - we lose because we are sentimental about players who does not perform! John

  • chrisdup - 2010-01-02 17:16

    Join this facebook group. Before people starting jumping up and down, let me clarify something. The group was created to let CSA know that we as the supporters, want people to be picked on merit, irrespective of colour....

  • John Wewege - 2010-01-02 17:19

    Why the sensitivity? Because he is black?! That is why Bafana Bafana has also slipped from being African Nations champs in 1996, because they have to many players who does not perform and then have the cheek to "moan" and "strike" over pay or bonusses. They should get neither if they do not perform - its as simple as that. Johnny

  • Dale Turrell - 2010-01-02 17:23

    Watch us win this test convincingly to shut you wallies up.....We came close in the 1st test and had a bad one now............Dumminy took more wickets than Steyn and Steyn scored more than him in the one innings...Cricket is a great game with ups and downs....Ntini has taken loads of wickets at Newlands... MAybe he too will shut some people up ...If not then lets hope his replacment does.

  • Larry - 2010-01-02 17:26

    So How long are we going to have to put up with this B***sh*t situation? I suppose its also sensitive that you and Mickey keep your jobs? If you had half a brain, you would not have made this statement. Mind you, if you had half a brain, we would not be in the position we are now. You, Mickey and Ntini should go now. At least you would both offset the "sensitivity".

  • BC - 2010-01-02 17:28

    Why not let Julius M pick the team. JZ could captain it with Makkie opening the bowling. Then de Wet can go play in England and in a year or three join Trott and Peterson and the soon to be eligable Rudolph in the England team whilst SA battle it out against Kenya, Zim and Bangladesh

  • Jannie - 2010-01-02 17:31

    Very true, Imboro. Nothing is ever said about the lack of whites in the soccer team. I will support Bafana-Bafana regardless. Most whites in this country have no b**** to stand up against the ANC-alliance politics. Ntini is just not good enough anymore. The same goes for Graham Smith as a captain.

  • Andre - 2010-01-02 17:40

    There is no place for passengers in First Class Cricket/Rugby.Choose Ntini ! but then you are going to loose the Test series.Easy as that !

  • scud - 2010-01-02 17:40

    Maybe we should ask England to give us a 200 run start to make up for our apartheid past.

  • Lets see ... - 2010-01-02 17:45

    Drop fatboy Smith. Drop Makatini . How can we go into a test and say we going with batsmen and maybe a bowler . Well not one of our batsmen performed . Our bowlers were k@% . Ntini is the worst bowler EVER . I suggest we give the oak a break . he must work himself back in when he learns how to bowl again . Players should know it's now or never . I say drop the hole lot of those clowns !!!

  • Babba - 2010-01-02 17:47

    Let the comrades choose the teams.When the spectators disappear and the money train stops rolling in they will all wonder why. Eish. The whites are too educated to continue supporting losers.

  • game - 2010-01-02 17:51

    Iconic? Cr*p! Ali Bacher saved Ntini from a long jail sentence for rape because he recognised Ntini's skill at a time when race played the major role in selection. He's off the pace now and until that changes he should go back his province.

  • Paul - 2010-01-02 17:51

    Mbeki said it was more important to have black players rather than win. Its the story of Africa. Ntini should have the guts to resign just as Lageveldt did and look at langeveldt now - he came back and is bowling really well in the shortened version.

  • Truth - 2010-01-02 17:56

    Even though i am white, i dont give a s*** who gets the team, it could be all black for all i care, South Africa needs to realise that its skill before color.. Replace EVERYONE who is lacking, and bringing the team to the ground

  • BUSHPIG - 2010-01-02 18:19

    I have lost all respect for Ntini. He should retire from cricket and take the pressure off the two government puppets Arthur and Smith. He knows that he is over the wall and yet he still holds on. Ashwill Prince should also be dropped because he is not a opening batsman but it is obvious that they have to have at least 4 players of colour of which 1 has to be black. There is only one way to ensure that teams are chosen on merit and that is to boycott all games. The sponsors will soon enough see the light.

  • greg - 2010-01-02 18:26

    They did,nt hesitate to drop Polly when he was,nt whats the problem....Mackie has been a star but has passed his sell by date just like Polly did...time has come to move on and find our next star bowler

  • JJ - 2010-01-02 18:26

    Has anyone considered that maybe the bookies got to the SA team in the last test match? The way Smith was running between the wickets made one wonder whether he wanted to get run out!!

  • darkwing - 2010-01-02 18:55

    Since we now have symbols playing cricket and not flesh and blood people, I guess I'll just play virtual cricket games from now on and not bother about this farce.

  • LOL - 2010-01-02 19:30

    Makaya must go ........... his performances have always been poor, even when he took wickets, he was lucky!! its about time he goes!

  • hmmmm - 2010-01-02 19:54

    hmmm. why are people and journalists reading race into this issue Smith says Ntini is "iconic" and that is what makes it sensitive. Kallis, Boucher etc are "iconic" even if they don't perform well it will be hard to drop. Ntini was a hero against not so long ago and by looking at the selectors mentality, they tend to very reluctant with changing a "winning player" of yesteryear. What Smith is saying has very little to do with race it has more to do with dropping an "iconic" 100 test veteran, like Kallis, Boucher etc Smith etc don't want to be the "bad guys" blamed for dropping "icons" ala Gary Teichmann and Nick Mallett saga....

  • Nobby - 2010-01-02 19:59

    @GeePMB. I enjoyed your comments, well said! It must be very embarrassing for Ntini but he is a monument to the failure of the politicians and cricket administrators who have failed to provide sustainable and fruitful development programmes for the previously disadvantaged people. Ntini is a product of Ali Bacher’s initiatives and even after he has played 100 tests, no other (black) player has come through the ranks. To the best of my knowledge huge sums of money have been spent on these programmes with zero results. The targets and quotas were both designed to cover the failures of the many development programmes and we lost great players like KP because of this and now they expect the cricket supporters to swallow this crap. We may be stupid, but we are not fools!

  • ramsey - 2010-01-02 20:03

    well sometimes a sport can break people,s hearts . this is not the time to point fingers but correct that durban misstake, if theres is a play that can deliver why not plyhim rather than saying things that are negtve. he is not on form drop the s***t put someone kla. i am not a crikt fan.o rugby but soccer fan where theres is a lot work needed from keeper to the subs on the stands . thats s.african style its to much compliants and sh**t done

  • Tommygun - 2010-01-02 20:47


  • Xola - 2010-01-02 21:11

    Yes Makhaya is not perfoming,is he the only one with a poor perfomance? I dont think so, why is form the yardstick for team selection all of a sudden? Boucher,Smith,Kallis have all had their fair share of poor perfomances but they never dropped nor is there anyword or headline suggesting that their places are up for grabs.... Im sensing double standards in this selection panel.....

  • jan - 2010-01-02 21:12

    When will people understand the English? All we have to look at is the fact that when there was a General de Wet involved in the Boer war the English were sh@t scared. Bring Friedel de Wet back and see what he can do to them at Newlands. Funny, even though I do not support the Highveld Lions, but being a supporter of the Western Province franchise, provincialism does not come into the picture when a good player is available. It does not make any difference even if such a player is the only shining star in any or even a weak team.... choose the player on the strength of ability and forget colour for good.

  • cat - 2010-01-02 21:26

    Where is Johan Botha? He should be bowling, batting and our Test captain. Anyone else agree?

  • Dude - 2010-01-02 21:34

    They are all playing crap, change the whole team! why make Makhaya the issue? the whole team is not performing!!!

  • Andy Bugden - 2010-01-02 22:08

    Its about time that the ANC recognise that they don't own cricket. From an English perspective we want to beat the best South Africa has to offer. It seems the dumb guys in government don't realise the significance of the trophy we are playing for- the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy. In two tests South Africa have managed only 28 wickets. A bowler who gets few wickets but doesnt go for many - this is ok. A bowler who gets lots of wickets but goes for plenty - this is also ok,, but if you have a bowler with few wickets and goes for plenty- well you are just giving the opposition an extra man. The reason why you lost the last match was you had adams struggling with the wind and only 2 other bowlers, this put your batters under pressure in the second innings and once a couple went down the heeby jeebies set in.Please for the sake of cricket drop ntini - get the vet in - he looked more than useful in joburg

  • gsi - 2010-01-02 22:24

    Where were all this sh---y critics when the "whities" wrere given endless opportunities? And oh, some of them are still going through the "labour pains" of gaining some sort of form! What a load of rubbish! Go in with the same 12 ... Graeme, De Villiers, et al included. Let the outcome of this test sort out the "men" from the "goats".

  • Steve - 2010-01-02 23:42

    game, what nonsense about the rape case. Do you really think Judges Joss Jones and Chris Jansen, who emphatically found Ntini 'not guilty' on appeal, cared a jot about Ali Bacher? These are appeal court judges remember.

  • xolani - 2010-01-02 23:59

    "Ntini must go..." What should happen to Smith? I guess your response is "no, Smith must be given a chance. He has won a lot of games for us in the past. He is a man of great experience and the 'boys' will benefit lot from his presence. His confidence levels are pretty low, but we expect him to bounce back very soon. He is cultured and has turned things around in the past...". Long live apartheid, i see!

  • Cricket Supporter - 2010-01-03 06:39

    Ntini, you are now the one to stand up and admit, you had your innings, give some one deserving a chance. Make a come-back, but dont destroy your lagacy now. We dont want to remember you as the oke who destroyed SA in this series. Iff you leaf, maby they can see Smith is the other problem. Best to you Makaya

  • obvious - 2010-01-03 08:43

    Pick him when he's on form again. Exposing any player like this will do more bad than good.

  • Thamie_Durban - 2010-01-03 09:28

    Ntini should be dropped, he is either off form or close to retirement. The other bowlers though could also not bowl out England twice in two matches. The fielding was awfull. Harris (the main spinner) was out bouled by Duminy, a part-timer. I do not see any racsists saying anything about this. Steyn should not have played, he was unfit. If we lose matches because one bouler, Ntini is off-form than wqe have a useless team.

  • daniel - 2010-01-03 09:43

    makhaya is hero 2 all blacks in this country and his still in top 10 world bowler rankings ,his 10 wickets away from 400 wickets he should be given as much chance 2 get those wickets.anyone who doesnt like that u can join kevin and trott and leave the country ur more than welcome