Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula both today dismissed widespread social media comments that Graeme Smith had threatened to resign if he was not made the Proteas captain for the ongoing Test series against India.
"CSA would like to quash rumours and comments floating around social media platforms suggesting that Castle Lager Proteas Captain, Graeme Smith, threatened to quit if Thami Tsolikile was selected for the present Test series against India," CSA said in a statement today.
"There is no truth at all to these malicious and damaging comments," said CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
"All selection procedures and protocols were followed in the selection of the squad and the playing XI and were signed off by myself and Transformation Manager, Max Jordaan. As per CSA`s selection policy, the captain is not involved in selection," he said.
Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa Fikile Mbalula, ascribed the comments which started after the ongoing first Test against India here to "malicious people" bent on derailing the process of transforming sport in South Africa.
"Cricket, like all sporting codes in the country, is working towards a transformative agenda," Mbalula said.
"We have already stated that in 2014 we will release the work of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on transformation. We will, therefore, not be side-tracked by malicious people during this time of an important match for the nation," he said.
"To Graeme and the boys I say: focus your energies on winning this Test match."
Mbalula said the EPG report would only be released next month after a pilot project which is being done with the national federations for the big five sports in South Africa -- rugby, cricket, football, netball and athletics.
"SRSA has analysed the information and will provide the draft report to the EPG for further consideration in January," said Mbalula.
The transformation of the formerly all-white national cricket team after the end of apartheid in 1994 has been a controversial issue for the past two decades.
The lack of black players in the side has been raised as a bugbear by successive sports ministers in the democratic order which started in 1994.
At various stages there were debacles at CSA over the implementation of race quotas in the squad.