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Proteas slammed 'sissies'

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 16:58 IST
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South Africa's decision to pull out of the tri-series in Sri Lanka has not found favour with most of the countrymen who described the players as fearful "sissies" (girls).

Many people called up radio stations around the country to complain that the players were under no threat and should have stayed back to play in the tri-nation series.

The media also took the cricketers to task. One newspaper, 'The Star' from Johannesburg, on Thursday said the decision to abort the tour was "a wrong move by CSA".

The decision was "regrettable, to say the least," it wrote.

"By withdrawing from the tournament between South Africa, India and Sri Lanka, our national cricket team has spelled the triumph of anarchy and terror over good reason.

"This decision is likely to attract the wrath of the International Cricket Council, which has the authority to call off the series, but has not seen reason to do so," it said.

"Besides, the Sri Lankan authorities have vowed to provide heightened levels of security to the players equal to that provided to that country's President.

"The South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka also pointed out that the team and cricket in general did not appear to be targets in the country's civil unrest. The threats of violence weren't aimed at our team and the Proteas were not justified in taking the drastic step of returning home," 'The Star' said.

However, South African coach Mickey Arthur said the decision to pull out was disappointing but the right thing to do under the given circumstances.

He said the players were not able to concentrate on cricket and were relieved to know that they were returning home.

"The players are very relieved that they are returning home but are disappointed they are unable to play in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and India," Arthur told South Africa's national radio, SAFM, from Colombo on Thursday.

"We were concerned that our players may just be caught in the crossfire," he said.

The team would return via Hong Kong and were expected to be back home early Saturday morning.

Cricket South Africa spokesman Steve Elworthy said that for the Board "the safety of our players was of paramount importance."

"It's a real tragedy the players are coming back but just imagine if one of our players is killed under the present circumstances. Our players will not be put in any position that will be a threat to their lives," the former paceman said. 

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