South African officials allow controversial Sonny Bill Williams masks

Tricia Pearson
March 14, 2018

Cricket South Africa have sought to distance themselves from the alleged actions of members of the cricket body who were photographed with fans wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks.

While it was reported that the Proteas believe the strapping on Warner's hand helped alter the condition of the ball, former Australia pace bowler Ryan Harris, who used to be Warner's teammate, brushed aside South Africa's supposed allegations.

Ahead of this series, the Australians had even gone to South African broadcaster SuperSport, requesting that the on field microphones be turned off, meaning viewers wouldn't have to be exposed to the obscenities bandied about during play.

Fans also spotted Warner's strapping and took to social media in anger.

Warner wears the strapping tape because he's broken his left thumb twice and left index finger once, while there is also a hot spot on the hand resulting from a knock suffered during last month's Twenty20 tri-series.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Cricket South Africa distanced itself from the action of the officials, marketing manager Clive Eksteen and communications manager Altaaf Kazi.

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CSA President Chris Nenzani also weighed in on the matter: "On behalf of CSA I extend my honest apologies to the Board of Cricket Australia (CA), its officials, team management, players and their families".

The presence of the Williams' masks are made all the worse considering Candice and Warners' two children are believed to be in attendance at the Test match.

Warner copped three demerit points and was fined 75% of his match fee for an altercation with Quinton de Kock in the first Test, while Nathan Lyon was fined 15% of his match fee for dropping the ball on AB de Villiers after running him out.

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Cricket Australia is understood to be furious with the conduct of Eksteen and Kazi, stunned that officials would be OK with the low-brow actions of supporters. The masks have since been banned again.

Both players were charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

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