IN the latest episode of the soap opera that is Cricket South Africa Andrew Hall, the Proteas all rounder, has quit international cricket, and is expected to sign with the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Following on from the drama of the Jacques Kallis exclusion from the T20 squad, and his resignation as vice captain following the announcement, and the subsequent fine imposed on Mark Boucher for speaking out against the Kallis omission, these are turbulent times at CSA.
While it seems Hall’s decision is impetuous, a reaction, like Kallis, to be left out of the T20 squad (and Abdul Razzaq of Pakistan who also retired on being left out of their squad) the recent spat of events suggests more than just the players bruised ego’s and perhaps a cricket board that does not have the players trust or respect. In Halls case he was called back early from his stint at Kent in County Cricket to prepare for the T20 World Cup, and was then left out of the squad and sent on an SA “A” tour to Zimbabwe. In a recent TV interview following the squad announcement and the Kallis saga Joubert Strydom, the new convener of selectors, said that the team had been decided almost a month before the announcement, and the decision to “rest” Kallis had been made then. If this is the case then why was Hall called back from Kent if they already knew he wouldn’t be in the squad? Even if he were to be standby for the squad, should someone fall out, surely playing County Cricket would be more beneficial to him and SA then a couple of four day games against Zimbabwe?
This seems to be another case of ill treatment to a player who has always given his all for his country. Hall had become the new Boeta Dippenaar of South African squad, in and out of the team irrespective of performance, and never sure of his place, no matter how much he merited it. In all Hall played 21 Test matches and 88 ODI’s for South Africa. In both Tests and ODI’s he batted almost everywhere in the order, from opening the innings to number 9 or 10, and had his best results as an opening batsman. his top scores of 81 against Sri Lanka in ODI’s and 165 in Tests against India were both made at the top of the order. Initially a batting allrounder in the ODI team, Hall has become more of a bowling allrounder in the last few seasons, and has established himself as one of the best death bowlers in world cricket. Hall picked up 45 Test and 95 ODI wickets.
Hall looks set to join former team mates Nicky Boje and Lance Klusner in signing up for the ICL, but while they had both been retired from international cricket for some time, Hall becomes the first player to actively retire to join the rebel league. This would reinforce the suggestion of his disillusionment with CSA. The Titans franchise team are looking into recruiting hall for the forthcoming domestic season.