Springboks withdrawn over arrest fear

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November 2, 2005 01:38
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South Africa's cricket team will tour India without Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje after the pair decided they were not safe from arrest on charges of match-fixing. On Tuesday the two players were dropped from South Africa's final two one-day internationals against New Zealand. Allrounders Andrew Hall and Albie Morkel will replace them. That would leave the South Africans without a spin-bowling option ahead of the trip to India. Gibbs and Boje were both implicated in a scandal _ which broke in 2000 _ centered on former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje. Gibbs acknowledged his small role in the affair and served a six-month ban imposed by the International Cricket Council, but Boje was never drawn into it except through unspecified allegations made by Indian police. "It is extremely unfortunate because it is clear to me that Nicky has never done anything wrong and the Indian police won't tell us what they think he might have done wrong," said Tony Irish of the South African Cricketers Association in a statement announcing the players' decision not to tour. Both players have answered questionnaires from Indian police. Diplomatic channels have been explored and a meeting between Indian police and New Delhi-based lawyers representing the players was held in an attempt to break the impasse. "Despite this, however, we are still not able to determine the intentions of the police and whether or not the safety and freedom of these players can be guaranteed," Irish said. Gibbs and Boje were in Durban preparing for the fourth of five one-day internationals against New Zealand. Neither was willing to speak to the media. Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, said: "We realize that there isn't much choice in the current circumstances and it is disappointing that Nicky and Herschelle cannot join the team in India." Speaking about the decision to replace Gibbs and Boje before the current series finished, South Africa selector Haroon Lorgat said: "Ideally, we need to slot in our replacements now, redefine roles in the absence of the two established players, and ready ourselves for India." South Africa leads the five-match series against New Zealand 3-0 ahead of Friday's game in Durban and Sunday's in Centurion.

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