Qantas Tour of South Africa
Cricket SA issues apology to CA, Warner
Governing body in South Africa puts out release regarding two officials posing with fans wearing Sonny Bill William masks
Sam Ferris St George's Park, PE
10 March 2018, 07:48 PM AEST
Cricket South Africa has issued an apology to Cricket Australia after two executives were photographed with fans wearing offensive masks on day one of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
The Australians are understood to be upset that the masks, which specifically targeted one of their players, were let into the venue before the photograph surfaced of the two senior executives posing with the fans.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a statement today apologising to Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian cricket team.
"Cricket South Africa wishes to distance itself from the alleged action of certain officials in associating themselves with fans wearing masks representing the face of Sonny Bill Williams, which conduct is seemingly related to the Warner/De Kock incident during the opening day of the second Sunfoil Test match at St. George's Park," the statement read.
"While CSA respects the rights of its fans to represent their own points of view, CSA does not associate itself with these actions and urges all Protea supporters from refraining from being involved in distasteful or unwelcome actions that may impact the image of the sport and its supporters.
"CSA has taken immediate precautionary steps against the CSA officials allegedly involved in this incident and will follow the organisation's normal internal processes in this regard.
"'On behalf of CSA I extend my sincere apologies to the Board of Cricket Australia (CA), its officials, team management, players and their families', commented CSA President Chris Nenzani."
CA chairman David Peever and chief executive James Sutherland spoke to their CSA counterparts Chris Nenzani (President) and Thabang Moroe (acting CEO) to express their displeasure about the events that unfolded on Friday.
Alerted on social media that the masks were going to be brought to the game on Friday, the Australians asked St George's Park security to stop the masks from entering the venue.
That request was adhered to by venue security before CSA intervened and allowed the masks into the ground.
It is understood there is now a ban on the masks and if found upon entry they will be confiscated.
The behaviour of the offending fans was sparked by the stairwell incident in the preceding Test at Kingsmead that saw Australia vice-captain David Warner and Proteas gloveman Quinton de Kock charged by match referee Jeff Crowe for bringing the game into disrepute.
Warner was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points, while de Kock was fined 25 per cent of his match fee and given one demerit point.
Warner claims his emotional outburst was in retaliation to a derogatory comment de Kock made about his wife, Candice.
The vice-captain has said he regrets his behaviour and will look to take a different route if confronted with a similar situation in the future.
"I just want to apologise for the way it played out," Warner told cricket.com.au. "I regret that situation that happened.
"I'm sorry for the people I may have let down, our fans and people back home, and even my family.
"But at the end of the day when there's a vile comment that's made I'll keep continuing to stick up for my family because that's the most important thing to me."
The two captains – Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis – met before the second Test in Port Elizabeth to ensure the match would be played within in the spirit of the game.
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13. Live coverage
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage