Graeme Smith was never a close friend, didn’t want me in the team, reveals Thami Tsolekile in SJN Hearings
Thami Tsolekile captained Graeme Smith during the the Under-19 team for South Africa.
Updated - Jul 20, 2021 3:19 pm
In a shocking revelation made by the former South Africa wicketkeeper-batter Thami Tsolekile to the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings on Monday, 19th July, the right-hand batter said the then captain Graeme Smith never wanted him in his team. Tsolekile made his international debut for the Proteas in a Test match against India in 2004 and went to play only two Tests thereafter.
The 40-year-old’s testimony was by far the most vivid that SJN advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza and his two assistants, Fumisa Ngqeleand Sandile July have heard for a long time. In his derailed elaboration, Tsolekile talked about how the Blacks were treated differently by the whites during his time with the Western Province under-13 side.
He said he slept on a kitchen floor while the white players had far more comfortable arrangements in place, during the national training academy squad back in the late 90s.
Later, when speaking about Smith, Tsolekile said it was Smith who did not want him in his team when he started captaining from 2003. Speaking about why he was ignored, the 40-year-old gave reason and proof of his interaction to two national section conveners, Linda Zondi and Andrew Hudson.
He also spoke about how the duo promised him that he would get to play a game against New Zealand in 2013 after Mark Boucher had suffered a fatal blow to his eyes during the Test series against England in 2012.
In 2012 Andrew Hudson came to me and said I would definitely play against New Zealand the night before the game, Hudson called me and in his own words said that Graeme Smith didn’t want me in his team,” Tsolekile said to lOL.
Thami Tsolekile feels Graeme Smith was given too much power by CSA
When quizzed by Ntsebeza as to why there was so much negativity for him towards Smith, the former wicketkeeper-batter said he was given too much power by Cricket South Africa (CSA) while he was the captain of the team.
“Graeme Smith was a great captain of our country. In my opinion, that guy was given too much power by CSA and his teammates.”
“Graeme Smith was never a close friend of mine, we were teammates,” Tsolekile said. “I’ve never had personal issues with him. I was his captain (under-19) and I also played against him (domestically). I can’t recall any incident with him, which is why I want to find out ‘what have I done to this guy?’”