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England need to apologise to SA

How quickly things change in the world of cricket administration. Just a couple of months ago the world had grown weary of the seemingly never-ending saga of Cricket South Africa’s leadership wrangling, back-stabbing and alleged corruption.

A leadership vacuum seemed to have developed and the decision-making processes at board level were struggling for coherence. Clear thinking, it seemed, was in short supply.

Now those problems appear to have shifted to England, judging by the comments made by ECB chief executive David Collier.

He accused the Proteas of plotting Kevin Pietersen’s downfall during the test series in that country in July and August. He suggested that his once star batsman had been “provoked” by Graeme Smith’s players and that a “policy” had been in operation to entrap him.

Having admitted that he had not seen any of the correspondence between Pietersen and the SA players, Collier pressed on regardless during a live radio interview on BBC radio on Sunday morning.

When CSA chief executive, Jacques Faul, met with Collier to talk through the “Textgate” scandal in England during the Lord’s test match, the Englishman said nothing of his conspiracy theory. Pietersen himself has vehemently denied suggesting that anyone but himself was to blame.

Collier has refused to back down or apologise, insisting that he believes Pietersen was the victim of Machiavellian tactics and skulduggery.

To say that Faul and CSA are upset would be an understatement, but their emotion are but a shadow of what Smith and the senior players feel about the accusations being levelled against them.

To behave in such a way would be to sink to the gutter. To have their two-nil series win tarnished with suggestions of a morally bankrupt ploy to unseat England’s best batsman belongs in the Theatre of the Absurd.

But mud as thick as that sometimes sticks, and that is why they cannot treat the situation with the disdain and contempt it deserves.

An apology and a retraction is required from David Collier. Not just a mealy-mouthed fudging of the issue or a half-hearted attempt to justify his allegation, but a public apology.

Relations have always been strong between the countries. Collier has put himself above that history. After nearly a decade in the job, he sees himself as more important than the big picture.

Big mistake.

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