Ex-players slam South Africa for lack of respect for Adcock, Van der Merwe

Last Updated: Feb 05, 2013, 13:15 PM IST

Cape Town: Former South African cricket legends Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock have criticised the current Proteas` squad over its failure to wear black armbands to mourn the recent deaths of former fast bowler Neil Adcock and former skipper Peter van der Merwe.

According to a report, Adcock and Van der Merwe died on January 6 and 23 respectively, and played for South Africa in the apartheid era, when only whites represented the country and only played against other all-white teams.

Former batsmen Richards and Pollock questioned why their deaths were not commemorated on the field by the Proteas.

But the team management said decisions on black armbands were taken by the players in line with a commitment to respect sensitivities on both sides of South African cricket’s racially riven past.

Richards, however, maintained that it is time to forgive and forget, and avoid keeping up with the pretence that there was no cricket before 1992.

Richards, who played only four Tests for South Africa and amassed 508 runs at an average of 72.57 against Australia, described himself as a victim of the apartheid years (1948 to 1990).

He said that this talk about disadvantaged people was sheer nonsense from a cricketing point of view, as he felt that both Graeme Pollock and he were left completely disadvantaged by the apartheid-related isolation.

“It was a sad part of our history, but let’s acknowledge that the guys who were good in that era were good, and when they die we respect them. It would be nice if the team did that,” Sports24 quoted him, as saying.

Pollock, who played 23 Tests for South Africa, and amassed 2256 runs at an awesome average of 60.97, said he concurred with Richards.

He said that everybody who has played for South Africa, has made a contribution, and those two gentlemen – Adcock and Van der Merwe -- certainly made a contribution.

Adcock played for South Africa in 26 Tests and took 104 wickets at an average of 21.10. He was among the most feared fast bowlers of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Van der Merwe captained South Africa to their first Test series win abroad.