David Teeger relieved of South Africa U19 captaincy

Cricket South Africa have relieved David Teeger from captaincy of their Under-19 side ahead of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024

Potchefstroom, Jan 12 (IANS) Cricket South Africa (CSA) have relieved David Teeger from captaincy of their Under-19 side ahead of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 following security advice regarding the position of the player on the Gaza-Israel conflict.

The replacement will be announced in due course. Teeger, who has impressed at junior level, scoring 159 runs for South Africa Emerging in the CSA Provincial Challenge Division Two recently, will remain part of the squad and contest in the tournament.

“The decision to remove Teeger as captain, was taken in the best interests of all the players, the SA U-19 team and David himself,” CSA said in a statement. “He will continue to remain with the squad as a player and a new captain will be named “in due course”.

“As is the case with all such events, CSA has been receiving regular security and risk updates regarding the World Cup. We have been advised that protests related to the war in Gaza can be anticipated at the venues for the tournament,” CSA said in a statement. “We have also been advised that they are likely to focus on the position of the SA Under-19 captain, David Teeger, and that there is a risk that they could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors.

“CSA has a primary duty to safeguard the interests and safety of all those involved in the World Cup and must accordingly respect the expert advice of those responsible for the safety of participants and spectators.

“In all the circumstances, CSA has decided that David should be relieved of the captaincy for the tournament. This is in the best interests of all the players, the SA U19 team and David himself.”

During the New Year’s Test between South Africa and India at Newlands, a group of pro-Palestinian supporters gathered outside the main gate, expressing their concerns about Teeger’s selection. Police escorted the protesters to a designated area, but tensions remained high, with another group displaying Palestinian flags in the North Stand.

The crux of the issue lies in Teeger’s remarks during the ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards ceremony on October 22, 2023. In his acceptance speech, Teeger dedicated the Rising Star award to Israeli soldiers, stating, “the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel.” His comments were reported in the South African Jewish Report and subsequently widely circulated in the country.

The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA) officially complained to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, triggering responses from CSA, Lions (Teeger’s domestic union), cricket clubs, a concerned supporter, the Abu Asvat Institute of National Building, and a sponsoring company director.

Advocate Wim Trengrove conducted an independent adjudication, determining that Teeger had exercised his constitutional right to freedom of expression without engaging in unbecoming conduct. CSA accepted Trengrove’s findings, endorsing Teeger’s right to express his views.

However, the PSA, citing a “significant rift within the cricket community,” remains adamant in questioning Teeger’s suitability to lead a diverse South African team. They have called for Teeger’s suspension from the U-19 World Cup squad and pledged to protest during the tournament. The contentious issue has gained additional momentum as pro-Palestinian sentiments surge in South Africa following the country’s decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice.

The 15th edition tournament will begin on January 19, with South Africa taking on West Indies in their opening encounter.

–IANS

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