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South African fans demand apology

PIO cricket fans demand an apology from Shane Warne for hurling insults at the Proteas squad.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 11:07 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

South African cricket fans rejoicing at their team's win over visiting Australia want Shane Warne to eat his words for calling the Proteas squad the weakest side in the country's history.

South Africa scored a record 438 for nine in the highest-scoring one-day international in history to beat Australia by one wicket and win the five-match series 3-2 at the Wanderers here Sunday.

After Australia won the one dayer on Friday to tie the series at 2 each, Warne had told the Afrikaans weekly Rapport that that match had shown yet again that South Africa could not stand up against Australia when it mattered.

Warne, who arrived in the country with team mates Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Michael Kasprowicz, Stuart Gill and paceman Shaun Tate for the three Test series starting next week, told Rapport: "If (South African captain Graeme) Smith wants to make a fool of himself with stupid statements, it's his problem. I won't make any big statements. I only know that South Africa has never been able to beat Australia in any series (since the country returned to the international arena about a decade ago after years of isolation because of apartheid.)"

Abdul Carrim, an ardent South African fan, said: "Obviously Warne has forgotten about the 2-1 defeat his side suffered at the hands of Shaun Pollock's team in 2000 while Hansie Cronje was suspended (because of his self-confessed involvement in match-fixing)."

Carrim told IANS that in the apartheid era he had supported "any team that played against South Africa, especially Australia", but was now "South Africa's No. 1 fan", especially since local Indian players were also getting opportunities.

"Warne must be forced to eat his words. He must apologise to us and our team," added Mohan Desai, who was leading the chanting for South Africa at the game.

The South Africans have attributed their changed approach at home - after being humiliated on a tour earlier of Australia - to advice from veteran retired cricket heroes Jonty Rhodes and Allan Donald.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 11:07 IST