THE South African cricket authorities have been dragged into a public debate about drinking among their players in Caribbean night spots during the World Cup.
A leaked fitness report from their former trainer Adrian le Roux reckoned alcohol abuse led to cramp problems during matches, and the captain Graeme Smith was criticised during the tournament for his early-hours presence in a night club in Grenada after South Africa’s Super Eight defeat by New Zealand. It was two days before their crushing victory in Barbados over England, a team similarly under fire for drinking and carousing.
Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, said the players were among the fittest in the world and he played down the mention of drinking. “The regulations about the intake of alcohol on tour was only one aspect of a generally very positive report on the fitness levels of the team from Adrian,” he said. “We addressed all matters, including this, that arose regularly on tour and took steps accordingly.”
Cricket South Africa confirmed that they had held an official inquiry into drinking, and the chief executive Gerald Majola said it had been viewed “in a serious light”. He said: “It was found that a number of players had been drinking into the early hours after the match. We viewed this in a serious light, despite there being no curfew in place on an off day.
“We have now changed the curfew and other regulations regarding alcohol intake while on tour. We are also in the process of finalising the appointment of a team manager, who will deal with disciplinary and code of conduct matters within the Proteas structure as part of his duties.
“The inquiry, our findings and recommendations took place well before Adrian submitted his routine report after the World Cup. The players concerned know they let themselves and the team down on that occasion, and are now fully aware of what is expected of them at all times as professional cricketers representing their country.”