Thu, Oct 11, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Proteas’ Graeme Smith denies ‘provoking’ texts

Reuters, CAPE TOWN

England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, right, attends a news conference with Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, on Wednesday last week.

Photo: Reuters

South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith has strongly denied recent suggestions that he or his team deliberately provoked England batsman Kevin Pietersen into sending “provocative” text messages to the Proteas players during the recent test series between the sides.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier said in a radio interview on Sunday that there had been a “deliberate policy” to entrap Pietersen.

“In the Proteas we pride ourselves on being a sporting and ethical team,” Smith said in a statement released by the SA Cricketers’ Association (SACA) on Tuesday.

“We talk a lot about values and our approach to the game. We play hard but we play fair and any suggestions that we did this as a tactic is totally unwarranted and unnecessary,” he added.

SACA chief executive Tony Irish confirmed that both he and the national players are expecting an apology from Collier for his comments.

“Our players are angered by David Collier’s claims that they employed unfair and unsporting tactics against Kevin,” Irish said. “By his own admission Mr Collier never saw any text messages, or correspondence, and we know that Kevin himself has never suggested that he was provoked, so where is the evidence for this claim?”

“In international cricket if a player makes an inflammatory comment or accusation he gets punished,” he said.

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