Kallis in anthem row
by Cricketarchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 20th December 2006
South African cricket, already reeling after the national team
collapsed to 84 all out in the first Test against India, found itself
enmeshed in front page controversy Sunday.
The Sunday Times reported that vice-captain and star all-rounder
Jacques Kallis refused to sing the national anthem, while the Afrikaans
newspaper Rapport published strong criticism of the sport's officials
by spin bowler Nicky Boje, who retired suddenly when he was due to join
the team for the Test.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) will discuss with Kallis what the player
describes as "good and valid personal reasons" why he does not sing the
national anthem when it is played before international matches.
The Sunday Times published an e-mail from Kallis to a member of the
public who had queried why he did not sing the anthem. Kallis wrote:
"It is my choice whether I sing or do not sing the anthem. I certainly
do not have to explain my reasons to anyone, especially you. I do have
good and valid personal reasons and I intend to keep it that way."
Kallis refused to elaborate on his comments but Cricket SA chief
executive Gerald Majola said the issue would be discussed with the
player after the Test. National symbols are a particularly sensitive
issue in South Africa with a new anthem and new flag introduced when
the country achieved majority rule in 1994.
Majola said CSA "insists on having the SA anthem sung." He listed
several reasons, including the enhancement and encouragement of
nation-building and because it was "a bridge between the players and
the spectators, unifying their support of their nation and of each
Majola said these reasons had been explained to the players and there
had been no request from any player not to sing the anthem.
Meanwhile, Boje told Rapport he felt he had been harshly treated by the
selectors. "At some stage you have to ask yourself where you are going
and where your loyalties lie. Mine are no longer with the Proteas."
Boje, who will continue to play domestic cricket for the Eagles
franchise, said an unhealthy situation had developed in South African
cricket. He said he believed several players would opt to play their
cricket in other countries if they were not selected for the
2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
"With the uncertainty over places and the scramble to be part of the
group it seems as though certain players are playing for themselves and
their own places and that is unhealthy for SA cricket," said Boje.
Former Test off-spinner Pat Symcox joined the criticism when he said
South African captain Graeme Smith was so busy dealing with non-cricket
issues that he did not have time to concentrate on his game.
Smith, who has been in woeful form, was out for five Saturday at the
start of his team's slide to 84 all out, their lowest total since the
country returned to international cricket in 1991. Although cricket
officials have denied there is conflict in the national team set-up,
there was a public rift between Smith and selection convenor Haroon
Lorgat shortly before the third one-day international in Cape Town
where Lorgat insisted on a late change to the team when Smith was
walking out for the toss.