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SA name squad amid confusion

Johannesburg: The players have still not signed the controversial Players Terms contract, but the South African selectors named a 14-man squad for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy Thursday.

Veteran opener Gary Kirsten is the most notable exclusion from the squad, which also has no place for medium-pacer Roger Telemachus. Selection committee convenor Omar Henry said Kirsten was dropped because of poor form, while Telemachus was left out on medical grounds.

Henry added that Kirsten was included in the South Africa A squad for the home series against Australia A. His place in the national team went to middle-order batsman Dale Benkenstein, while seamer Alan Dawson replaced Telemachus.

Henry, however, didn’t say anything on what will happen if the players ultimately do not sign the contract. Earlier in the day, South African Cricketers’ Association chief executive Tony Irish said the players had sought more time to decide.

Irish said the players wanted a fresh meeting with the United Cricket Board (UCB) chief Gerald Majola and president Percy Sonn, both of whom are in Dubai to attend an ICC meeting. According to Irish, the meeting was expected to take place only after the two officials returned from Dubai.

“The players have not yet signed the agreements. But we are hopeful that on the return of Majola and Sonn, the players will sign as soon as we have an agreement,” Irish said. That means the squad named Thursday is not the final one and a clear picture will emerge only after the meeting between players and the UCB officials.

Irish maintained the players were not prepared to sign the contracts before holding talks with the officials but was hopeful of an amicable solution. “We have had very good negotiations with UCB and found a solution to what has been a very difficult situation.”

He was quick to add that the onus was on the UCB to clear the mess. “The ball is now in the board’s court. There are still a few points under consideration, but we are confident if the solution we have got on the table is accepted, our best squad will go to Sri Lanka.”

THE SQUAD

Shaun Pollock (captain), Dale Benkenstein, Nicky Boje, Mark Boucher, Alan Dawson, Boeta Dippenaar, Allan Donald, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Lance Klusener, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Jonty Rhodes, Graeme Smith.

Lanka reject demand

The Sri Lankan board is yet to reach a compromise with the cricketers regarding the controversial Players Terms contract and has ruled out accepting their demand for 30 per cent of the guarantee money it will get from the ICC for next month’s Champions Trophy to be played here.

The state-run Daily News quoted a BCCSL official as saying that it was financially not in a position to share revenue.

“I think it is unfair for the cricketers to make such a demand. They are trying to capitalise on a situation.

“I don’t think they are seriously affected by the conditions laid down by the ICC.”

The BCCSL chief executive Anura Tennekoon has left the country with a two-point compromise programme suggested by the players, which will be presented at the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai on Saturday.

The cricketers’ representative, former fast bowler Graeme Labrooy, said the players were yet to get any response from the board to the conditions set by them.

The players have asked for 30 per cent of the guarantee money to make up for losses they will incur by giving up sponsorships that will be in conflict with official sponsors of ICC tournaments and an assurance that they would be consulted before signing contracts in future.

A report from Johannesburg says the 15 players chosen to play for the Champions Trophy have so far not signed the contract.

Sri Lanka will host the 12-nation tournament, billed as the mini World Cup from September 12 to 29.

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