Cape Town - New Proteas coach Russell Domingo has admitted that bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe was NOT on the original 15-man list for the recent tour of Sri Lanka due to fitness concerns.
According to the Cricinfo website, Domingo revealed the left-armer would have stayed
at home had he (Domingo) not been convinced otherwise.
"I had massive concerns
about his form, fitness and possibly his work ethic," Domingo said.
"After canvassing some opinion and chatting to him, we decided to take
him with (us) and work on his fitness in the first two or three weeks to
try and get him to a position where he could perform to his maximum."
Domingo denied there was any political influence involved in the
decision for Tsotsobe to travel, but admitted the administrators are
aware of the need to transform the national team.
"There was nothing
like that, in terms of politics, but we are fully aware of the need to
have black African players in our side and there is a lack of them
banging on the door."
Tsotsobe has been the only black African player in
the South African squad in recent years, with left-arm spinner Aaron
Phangiso now giving him company.
Back in SA following their 4-1 ODI series loss and 2-1 Twenty20 truimph, for Domingo, the challenge between now and South Africa's tour in the
UAE to play Pakistan in October, is to ensure Tsotsobe continues to make
progress, and extends that to other areas such as his fielding.
He will also be involved with his new franchise, the Lions, who have
qualified for September's Champions League. Tsotsobe did not play for
the Lions during last season's domestic 20-over competition, but
signed for them during the off-season from the Dolphins.
Russell Domingo's full statement on Lonwabo Tsotsobe:"I would like to state categorically and very
honestly that Tsotsobe wasn't included in the fifteen to go to Sri
Lanka. I had massive concerns about his fitness, his form and possibly
his work ethic at that stage. Tsotsobe was very comfortable staying
behind, working at the high performance centre, and getting himself back
into condition because I firmly believe Tsotsobe is a massive asset in
our one-day side.
He is one of the best bowlers in the world.
We need a fit, firing Lonwabo Tsotsobe. It might not be a coincidence
that when some of his form has dipped a little bit, the team's bowling
as a whole dipped a little bit because he is such an important bowler
After canvassing some opinions and chatting
to him, we decided to take him with [us] and work on his fitness in the
first two or three weeks to try and get him to a position where he could
perform to his maximum. He worked really hard in those first two or
three weeks and I was very pleased and encouraged with what I saw. And
that hard work was proved in his first performance in Pallekele, where
he probably won the game for us.
We've still got some way to go. I am a big
fan of his. He offers a lot to the side in terms of his skills with the
new ball, and his skills when he bowls cutters. Maybe it was a good
thing that he wasn't included to make him realise he also needs to pull
up his socks to a certain degree. And we also need to give him as much
opportunity to develop for us, because he is a gun bowler in this