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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 17:13 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Black player drafted for England match

England are likely to field more black players than South Africa

The Northerns/Gauteng XI to face England in their next tour match have been ordered to draft a black player after complaints that the side was all-white.

South Africa's cricketing authority, the United Cricket Board (UCB), stipulated a black replacement when Northerns player David Townsend withdrew injured from the four day match, starting on Thursday.

Northern's Rudi Bryson, a white player, was originally picked as Townsend's replacement, but he has now been substituted for black Gauteng pace bowler Walter Masimula.

'Smacks of hypocrisy'

UCB managing director Ali Bacher said: "I contacted Rudi straight away and informed him of our decision."

"I apologised and explained that there were broader issues which had to be considered. He accepted graciously."

The change came after press criticism from black cricketing personalties of the decision to field an entirely white eleven.

National cricket selector Gerald Majola said in The Star newspaper: "It is an indictment on the two provinces that they can't provide a player of colour to represent them. I'm totally against the selection."

Gauteng provincial selector Mtutuzeli Nyoka disowned the selection, telling SABC public radio: "Why is it they have overlooked the affirmative action policy which, by the way, they are a part of? To me this thing smacks of hypocrisy."

The lack of black and so-called coloured players in sports like cricket and rugby is the subject of intense debate in South Africa, with the national teams still consisting almost entirely of white players.

Last August, the UCB in August unveiled a plan to achieve racial parity in all sections of cricket by 2002. As yet, the plan has not affected the national side.

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