SPORT

Cricketers return with tails between their legs: Poll



Johannesburg: The South African team, on Friday, got a divided mandate at home on its decision to return home after pulling out of a tri-nation cricket series in Sri Lanka.

The national SAFM radio held a special programme and asked listeners whether the decision to cancel the tour was a correct one.

The responses were divided with some supporting the cricketers, while others saying that the players have decided to come back home ``with their tails between their legs''.

The team is now on its way home via Hong Kong. The decision has drawn angry reactions from the Sri Lankans with one newspaper describing the South Africans as ``chickens'' while back home in South Africa many people have described the players as ``sissies'' (girls). However, the team management and players of the South African national cricket team rejected the criticism.

Laughable

South African team media manager Gordon Templeton told the local Star newspaper in Johannesburg just before departing from Colombo that the claims against the players were ``laughable''.

``No one who knows anything about cricket would take them seriously,'' he was quoted as saying by the paper.

Some players said in interviews that it was mainly because of the threat fears that the tour was cancelled. They also rejected allegations that senior players had pushed the decision to return home.

``We all decided we wanted to go home. Of course it was disappointing for all of us to miss the tournament,'' A.B. de Villiers was quoted as saying.

Team decision

``I would give a lot for cricket, but I won't give my life. The senior players have really looked after us and made us welcome, but it was a team decision, not just the seniors.''

The decision has also had consequences for a school team from South Africa playing in a tournament in Colombo.

Cricketers from the St. John's College in Johannesburg were ordered by the school's governing council to abandon its tour and join the South African national team's flight back home. PTI

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