Amla tries to talk cricket amid the drama
“So you mean about the cricket,” Hashim Amla clarified with a reporter who had asked him a convoluted question after day two of the second test between South Africa and Australia at St George’s Park on Saturday.
Well might Amla have asked. What with Nathan Lyon, David Warner and Quinton de Kock having already felt the sting of match referee Jeff Crowe’s decisions and Kagiso Rabada on the carpet on Sunday evening, there’s a lot going on off the field.
That includes attempts by spectators in Port Elizabeth to get under the skin of Warner by wearing Sonny Bill Williams face masks.
Warner’s wife, Candice Warner, had an encounter with rugby star Williams in a toilet in 2007 — eight years before she married Warner.
Two senior Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials posed for a photograph with three of the masked men that appeared on social media on Friday.
The suits concerned, commercial and marketing manager Clive Eksteen and communications head Altaaf Kazi have been sent home to Johannesburg pending the start of an internal investigation on Monday.
Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Sundaram Ravi ordered the brass band that has been a fixture at the ground since 1867, in different guises and on and off, and consistently since 1995, to stop playing before tea on Saturday.
The band returned after tea but were twice hushed by the officials before resorting, largely, to playing quieter tunes.
“The umpires came to us as batsmen and they did ask us what we thought about the band,” Amla said.
“We told them it was their call; they’ve got to make the big decisions.
“Obviously they decided it was disturbing them.
“I think they had a chat to the fielding team as well.”
The umpires were booed for stopping the music, but after tea an official was seen in the band’s midst explaining that they could play after boundaries and between deliveries and overs but not while play was in progress.
Band members clearly weren’t happy with that idea, but the umpires did not intervene again.
Crowe handed Lyon, Warner and De Kock fines and demerit points for infractions of the code of conduct in the first test, but none of those players were banned.
That trend could change after stumps on Sunday, when Rabada is set to attend a hearing in the wake of him colliding, albeit lightly, with Steve Smith after he dismissed the Australia captain on Friday.
Rabada has five demerit points and could be slapped with three or four more if he is found guilty of his level two charge.
Players who collect eight active points are suspended for two matches, which would take Rabada out of the last two tests in the series.