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South Africa's turn for a big night out

Martin Gough | 20:50 UK time, Monday, 16 April 2007

Martin GoughBarbados - Forget Pedalogate; South Africa are the ones trying to play down a drinking controversy as they go into Tuesday’s must-win game against England.

Andrew Flintoff was stripped of the England vice-captaincy and banned for a game after a late-night drinking binge in St Lucia early in the World Cup.

This time it is South Africa captain Graeme Smith trying to defend his actions as one of a group of players on Saturday night, after the defeat to New Zealand in Grenada.

A South African fan called a Johannesburg radio station to complain a group of players were out until 4am, claiming they were “highly intoxicated”.

Officials have already said the case is closed but if South Africa under-perform against England, a sports-mad public at home are unlikely to let it lie.

Smith played the whole issue down, saying: “There probably were guys who had a few drinks. After a game if a couple of guys want to go out and blow off some steam I have no issue with it.

“It’s a long tournament, there’s a lot of pressure and the guys will be prepared [for the England game].

“We have drinking rules and if guys have pushed the limit that will be discussed and dealt with.”

Pushed on the nature of those rules, Smith said: “Two days before a game, really calm down.”

Several Proteas were spotted in the pubs and clubs of St Lawrence Gap on Barbados’ south coast on Sunday night, after 1am. Opinions were mixed on whether they were behaving calmly or not.

Comically, Smith almost managed to suggest it was difficult to fit drinking sessions in around games, saying: “It’s tough at the moment with the schedules.”

Then he added: “I think probably we’ve been the quietest team at this World Cup, because of where we’ve been based.”

If it was a reference to their difficult fortnight in Guyana at the start of the Super 8, they didn’t find the right places.

These late-night sessions are far from unique. In the week following Pedalogate, two players from opposing sides (neither one England, before you fret) were out in the same bar where Flintoff’s binge began.

Around 34 hours later, Player A took 22 runs off Player B’s second over. Perhaps one player handles his booze better than the other. More likely, it had little bearing.

These are professional, international sportsmen, though. Surely they should be able to make a judgement on when it is safe to push the boat out. Surely.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:45 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Marc wrote:

Could someone cleverer than me work out who player A and player B are? Or who they allegedly are, of course ;)

  • 2.
  • At 09:55 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Marc wrote:

Could someone cleverer than me work out who player A and player B are? Or who they allegedly are, of course ;)

  • 3.
  • At 11:15 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Bough wrote:

Oh no, looks like I hit the POST button too many times. Difficult to blame me, this webpage got stuck many many times. (_._)s!

  • 4.
  • At 11:16 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Lizzie wrote:

New Zealand v Canada was an interesting match with two 50's blasted off 20 balls and 23 balls!! One on each side!!

  • 5.
  • At 11:21 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • lizzie wrote:

New Zealand v Canada was an interesting match with two 50's blasted off 20 balls and 23 balls!! One on each side!!

  • 6.
  • At 11:23 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • lizzie wrote:

New Zealand v Canada was an interesting match with two 50's blasted off 20 balls and 23 balls!! One on each side!!

  • 7.
  • At 11:58 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I can't help feeling the fans are getting a little holier than thou, reporting players drinking. This is a long tournament (too long some would say), many of these guys have been away from their families for months with only a few days break. The odd late night session a couple of days before a match is not going to seriously affect a players performance. What's the alternative? Players unable to relax, lying awake at night for hours on end? Flintoff's form has been ruined by tactless, heavy-handed, mis-management. At least S Africa seem to have a more understanding and grown up attitude to their players.

  • 8.
  • At 12:05 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Bough: whilst I tend to agree, don't forget that a few Aussie players have been involved in some drinking scandals in their time.

  • 9.
  • At 12:48 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Jimbob wrote:

Australians well disciplined? Including their captain 'Punter', infamous for his (alleged) drinking/gambling/womanising behaviour? Andrew Symonds delighting in how his baggy green "smells of sweat and beer." These are disciplined sports stars?

Bough, no offence mate, but you're talking rubbish!

  • 10.
  • At 01:00 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Tich wrote:

These reports about drinking problems in the Proteas Camp are a deliberate attempt by the British media to disturbilize the moral in the South Africa team.It is typical of the British ahead of any superior opposition in any discipline be it football,rugby or any other sport.Professinals don't fall for that anymore.Nice try Martin,at least you a shown great patriotism.Unfortunately, the English players who will take to the field will not show that.

  • 11.
  • At 03:08 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • sushila wrote:

THERE WAS A BIGGER GAME PLAN.IF SL LOSES THEY CAN CONSOLE THEMSELVES BY NOT HAVING PLAYED THEIR MATCHWINNING BOWLERS.IF THEY WIN THEY WOULD HAVE HAD AN EDGE IN THE FINALS AND TERRIFIC MORALE BOOST.MIND YOU MOODY IS AN AUSSIE .HE KNOWS THE AUSSIES MIND

  • 12.
  • At 03:37 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Harjit wrote:

Indians, Pakistanis, Sri lankans and Bangladeshis are the best people in the game whwn it comes to discipline in and outside the game, their only problem is that they play a game like a game to play not to win only like australians whose dominance has more harm then good for the game.

Well these are the differences between the Englishmen and the South Africans; Australians - they show more "stray dog mentality" even outside the games.

  • 13.
  • At 04:37 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Dilly wrote:

I must say this is the worst string of non sequiturs I have read -- what a terrible blog.

  • 14.
  • At 04:57 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I was in St. Kitts staying at the same hotel as all the teams. I am a big South Africa fan. They did everything as a team and you seldom saw them alone. Sure, they would go to a restaurant/bar together, and there would be no beer left when they were gone. But they were never out two nights before a game. I saw them up early training every day- along with the Australians. They were in the weight room all afternoon every day- along with the Australians (it was funny to see the two teams there together, never talking with each other). Give these guys a break. They are professional athletes and they know what they need to do.

  • 15.
  • At 05:29 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • A dose of reality wrote:

Harjit wrote: "Indians, Pakistanis, Sri lankans and Bangladeshis are the best people in the game whwn it comes to discipline in and outside the game, their only problem is that they play a game like a game to play not to win only like australians whose dominance has more harm then good for the game."

When was the last time Australian, New Zealand, or English supporters burned effergies of players, destroyed homes of officials, or rioted in the street after losing. Lets not even mention Bob Woolmer

This holier than thou attitude being thrown about by Asian supporters and officials has absoloutely no basis. They need a serious self assesement.

  • 16.
  • At 06:37 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • John Smith wrote:

The reason some teams are better than others - easy. Os, NZ, Sri Lanka and SA are the teams nearest the South Pole. This would explain England's form being, the farest away!!!!

  • 17.
  • At 06:56 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

Very poorly written article. I think it is clear that you do not have all your facts in order hence this rubbish. If you do then please give us some names but this article smirks of an effort yet again by a british journalist or in this case journalist wannabe to put the S.A team down.

Get over yourselves. Your team is rubbish and so is your administration, get rid of those dusty old men in the ecb then you might start winning something.

  • 18.
  • At 06:57 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Zack wrote:

At least Englishmen don't go into holes naked in the middle of nowhere and beat themselves up! I'm thinking about the South African rugby team pre the 2003 rugby World Cup - what bright spark had that stupid idea? Apparently it was meant to help South Africa beat England - HA! - Did I press the button again? Whoops, I only though South Africans used lame humour like that!

  • 19.
  • At 07:06 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • zeeshan wrote:

love is life

  • 20.
  • At 07:40 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Zack wrote:

Why do South Africans always go on the defensive. I'm thinking about the posters here who seem to forget that the South African media love to ridicule the English in any sport they play. You think our media have been over critical? My god, everytime I picked up a South African paper when I was following the English rugby team there in 2000, the amount of crap written was unbearable - it was like, how could this English side even dare come here and expect to give us a game, their so bad.

  • 21.
  • At 08:23 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

Zack, you really are flogging that dead horse aren't you. At least none of our cricketers were fished out of the ocean and as far as rugby goes your lot only play well in those wet miserable conditions, weren't you guys thumped by Argentina last year?

  • 22.
  • At 08:46 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • T Dealmeida wrote:

Agree with Smith! Im not sure how the media and public would have reacted had Sa won the Kwisis. Why does every1 only wana critise Graeme. They not school boys , arent they allowed a bit of freedom.
Im sure every member of the team after their drinking realise they still have responsibilties. SA alwys bounce back!

  • 23.
  • At 08:49 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • HotentotUK wrote:

I totally agree with Tich

the british media have nothing better to report on (can you blame them considering their nations recent performance)? Who actually wants to read this dribble? Before anyone thinks im taking sides to the SA squad allegations of drinking, i said exactly the same thing when all the fuss was made about freddie's escapades! Who gives a damn? i dont care what the team are up to when they're not on the field!

  • 24.
  • At 09:28 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • James McQuaid wrote:

I don't quite get why SA fans think the English media are running some sort of hate campaign against them - I've certainly seen nothing to suggest that, and I'm sure their media are whipping the flames up just as much. I'm afraid I just can't be bothered to check what the opposition is saying about us, which is more than can be said for the fans of most sides that play us and post on here!

SA are just as arrogant, and just as inconsistent and capable of a shocking performance as us, so I wouldn't talk too soon boys - you could be on the wrong end of a beating today with your hopelessly one-dimensional bowling attack...

  • 25.
  • At 09:33 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Zak wrote:

I'm not flogging a dead horse, but I wouldn't be surprised if the South African rugby team did that as motivation ahead of the next World Cup! As for wet conditions, I seem to remember England beating South Africa on a few hard rugby pitches since the millenium - oh the joy, this game is only the start of anglo/ saffa relations as we also have plenty of rugby to banter about between the nations in the next few months and no doubt the old line of me being an arrogant pomme who's wet and miserable country can never win anything will be dragged out on countless occasions. Unfortunately South Africa can hardly talk much about trophies either!

"... before they push the boat out". Quality!

  • 27.
  • At 10:00 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

what an ordinary blog.

  • 28.
  • At 10:01 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Let's face facts here chaps, all politics aside. The cricket will do the talking & let the best team win.

COME ON SA!!

  • 29.
  • At 10:01 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

If the defensiveness of some of the South Africans posting here is anything to go by, they must be dreading a thorough thrashing by Pietersen again (you never know, it could happen).

Nothing to go on? How about all the news articles - looking at Google News I can see more on the subject from South Africa and New Zealand source, so blaming it all on the English media is just pathetic.

It's out there, it's news, get over it. I reckon Gough's article would look reasonably balanced to anyone who doesn't have a ten tonne chip on their shoulder.

  • 30.
  • At 10:14 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

James Mcquaid, S.A could be on the wrong end of a beating today? I totally agree and Michael Vaughan to play all the shots in the book and score a brilliant, splendid, magnificent 1 run falling just 99 runs short of his maiden ODI 100, man..... what a player.

You lot love to talk yourselves up then when the time comes to deliever you fail dismally. Your problem is that you are still basking in the glory of previous achievements i.e rugby world cup, ashes, cricket world cup oh sorry you haven't won that one yet even though it's been played for many years now.

Oh and Zack i wouldn't call you arrogant that would be giving you too much credit. You are bit like the kid who wears glasses, who would want to pick on you anyway?

  • 31.
  • At 10:39 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

"Player A" and "Player B"?

Come on Marting Gough, why so coy? Who are these mysterious drinking buddies? Or do you doubt the veracity of your story?

  • 32.
  • At 10:46 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Richard Lake wrote:

I'm just intrigued by the effect that losing to New Zealand has on teams. Are they really that under-rated by the top teams that if you lose to them you have to go out and get wasted?

I'm looking forward to the Kiwis beating Australia and then seeing which Aussie ends up on the Pedalo

  • 33.
  • At 10:47 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Johan wrote:

Michael don't be stupid. The boer war mentality? are you serious? Because Britain and her COLONIES took 3 years to struggle to beat a bunch of farmers in an disgusting display of imperialism, this hardly influences todays feeling in sport! And i wouldn't bring up 2003 too much either, just bare in mind that the next RWC is coming up and the Boks are looking a bit of a safer bet than the Poms!

  • 34.
  • At 11:00 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Zack wrote:

"You lot love to talk yourselves up then when the time comes to deliever you fail dismally. Your problem is that you are still basking in the glory of previous achievements i.e rugby world cup, ashes, cricket world cup oh sorry you haven't won that one yet even though it's been played for many years now."

Er funny that, I think you could relate a lot of that paragraph to South Africa. Your problem is that you still bask in past glories i.e. rugby world cup, cricket world cup oh sorry you haven't won that one yet. You lot love to talk yourselves up then when the time comes to deliver you fail dismally. As for England living on past glories on the rugby world cup front, what do you expect us to do, we still hold the bloody thing! As holders you have every right to go on about being World Champions until the next tournament no matter how badly we play in between.

  • 35.
  • At 12:01 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • griff wrote:

well, i'm glad that all of this has resolved who player A and player B are.

  • 36.
  • At 12:09 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Colleen wrote:

I suspect that players of all sports misbehave on the odd occasion. Cricket has a comparatively low hooligan ratio imho. Recent shenanigans by other countries' players have not affected my opinion of the teams, or for that matter the countries in question. If the Proteas are so ill-disciplined as to get ratfaced shortly before a match, their play will certainly show it and be assured they will hear all about it when they get home.

Michael sweetie, I thought this article was about cricket. But if you want to bring politics into it, tell you what, go and read up on the 2nd Anglo-Boer War aka the South African War. Once you have any real knowledge on the matter, feel free to report back on whether you still think that your comment is justified.

  • 37.
  • At 12:43 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • AaaBaa wrote:

I agree, leave nationalistic politics out of it, it's far too corrosive - it's only a game after all!! SA, India, Pakistan, Australia - they are amongst the nations that take it FAR FAR too seriously.

The ECB and English cricket in general are far more chilled out about it the whole nationalistic / patriotic stuff, some tabloids notwithstanding. (Admittedly the same cannot be said about football supporters and media.) Some points:

Firstly, the SA drinking "scandal" is not some English media plot to destabilise SA. If anyone actually reads the quality English media (i.e. not the tabloids) you'll see a healthy level of self-criticism - sometimes even too much. Indeed, one even gets the impression the English enjoy England losing more than winning!!

Secondly, look how diverse the English squad is - one Irishman, two South Africans (Strauss was born in SA I think), a couple of English Sikhs, an Englishman of Pakistani parentage, and in the Test team some guys who sound Aussie to me. I'm sure there are others. And I haven't even mentioned the Zim coach. I don't think many other nations can claim to be so chilled out about this people's origins and culture.

Third, everyone else that seems to have a chip on their shoulder about beating England. Listen to McGrath. Or even Fletcher - he alluded to this recently when he said that he "comes from a part of the world where everyone wants to beat England". Maybe it's all because of the post-imperial hangup, but why bother? It's only cricket - I say chill out!

England are chilled out about this stuff. Maybe that's why England lose. But what does it matter, the fans love it - we're used to losing!!

  • 38.
  • At 01:01 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • doug wrote:

Who cares? If they are good enough it is irrelevant what they do in their own time. So called "fans" should have better things to do than telling on players.

Live and let live and stop be so petty!

  • 39.
  • At 01:18 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Player A would be John Davison of Canada. Player B would be Michael Mason of New Zealand - not exactly subtle. You don't need to keep very good records to see that straight off. I don't know why Gough didn't come out and say it ratehr than trying to hide behind basic pseudonyms.

For the record, it was Mason's second over so yet again very careless reporting by Gough. The over also included a no-ball.

  • 40.
  • At 01:19 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Cmon guys, the public perception here in SA about the drinking saga is "WHO CARES". If the guys want to go out for a drink a couple days before a match, who on earth are we to preach a holier than thou attitude.

Best of luck to both sides today – could be a hiding either way.

Hope the players enjoy "a couple" after the game.

  • 41.
  • At 01:26 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Martin Gough wrote:

So this is a one-man English crusade to "distubalize" the SA team is it? The story broken on South African radio over the weekend and was carried in its newspapers.

All the English media has done is report the facts ahead of a big game.

  • 42.
  • At 02:13 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • John wrote:

AaaBaa, your post makes me laugh as it's so opinionated - how have the English been chilled about this, one guy on here was bringing up the Boer War...what on earth has that got to do with today's game?!

The fact of the matter, I've seen South Africa get a lot of negative criticism from the English media and the fans - even on Martin Gough's blogs I've seen him poke fun at South Africa on numerous occassions! SA has replaced Aus as the usual antipodean hate figure because there's nothing to find fault with Aussies right now and everoyne knows they are practically unbeatable at the moment!

The drinking saga is a bit rich considering how Flintoff embarrassed not only his team but also his country! You didn't anything actually being wrong with the SA teams' behaviour - It's quite sad how this has been used as a war of words against them! And dredging up past conflicts which the English always do is bordering on xenophobia - England don't deserve to win considering how disrespectfully they talk about opposing teams!

So in that respect I wouldn't say England are chilled out about losing in the slightest. No doubt there will be a barrage of insults against the South Africans whether they win or lose!

  • 43.
  • At 02:23 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Jameel wrote:

it's a shame inzi stepped down as captain but hey let's hope Yousuf takes on the big role. He's got great talent to lead the boys 2 success

  • 44.
  • At 02:26 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Jameel wrote:

it's a shame inzi stepped down as captain but hey let's hope Yousuf takes on the big role. He's got great talent to lead the boys 2 success

  • 45.
  • At 02:53 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • AaaBaa wrote:

John, you are missing the point. Believe you me, if the England cricket fraternity and most fans weren't chilled out about most things, then they you wouldn't get such a multi-national team set up as I talked about before. (Granted it wouldn't happen in football, but thank goodness cricket fans aren't like football fans.)

Also, please don't confuse the issue. Flintoff embarrassed himself, people who look out for him, his team...but by no means his "country"! What twaddle! Most people cannot care less about what he did. How can they? Many English people do stupid (and funny) things when they are drunk! Yes, many fans felt let down, understandably, but many also laughed, albeit chiding him for his immaturity and lack of professionalism. He there to win the World Cup after all, and as everyone knows, alcohol and sport don't mix too well. It was funny though - I for one laughed!

Granted, the guy who brought up the Boer War is very very dim, to put it very very mildly. He is exception rather than the rule. He belongs on the English football terraces of the 1980s. Thankfully, cricket and rugby in England are almost exclusively devoid of jingoistic nationalism amongst fans and followers. (Football has a long way to go.) South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and India should look up to the apolitical fashion in which cricket is handled in England. Chill out - it's only a game after all.

  • 46.
  • At 03:47 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • wrighty wrote:

i dont think it will matter too much. Sth Africa are more than capable of beating a desparately poor england side whilst drunk....let alone a hangover!! They will be forgiven by the end of today

  • 47.
  • At 05:18 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • James McQuaid wrote:

Oh dear. Yet another England collapse... I'll keep my mouth shut next time!

Congratulations to the South Africans for putting this hopelessly underprepared (or possibly jaded by too much cricket in 12 months) England batting line-up out of their misery. Now, in theory, England can get get on with firing those responsible for this World cup performance, except in the unlikely event of the bowlers pulling off a miracle to save their skins. If only England had 'bounced back' from the shame of the Flintoff pedalogate business so ruthlessly...
Whoever agreed to such a packed international schedule for England over the winter with that ridiculous ICC shindig in India, then the ashes and triangular series, and finally the World Cup needs to go for a start. No wonder particular England players have already retired, either from international cricket, or the one day game, unable to take all those matches. True, the Aussies have had a similar schedule since the autumn (although I don't know if they were quite so busy leading into the India business) but their harder-than-nails attitude has carried them through wonderfully.
Ireland need to be incorporated into a 'British Isles team', and the England one day side scrapped at once. At least the Irish have the attitude to come out fighting in situations like this.
On past performances, the Aussies to crush South Africa in the semis, and then to win the finals, and the England management to let go any decent employees that they still have left, and to overpromote others lacking the experience to yet handle such positions. (Remember the way that they let Troy Cooley go after the 2005 Ashes everyone?)
Even with a 'report' into the state of the England game forthcoming, what others refer to as the culture of 'old boy network' is still likely to survive, however; the old excuses such as 'we made the super eights this time around' will be trotted out, and Duncan Fletcher will be offered up to the press as the sole ceremonial sacrifice. In the likely event of England losing this game, they need the West Indies to beat them, and Ireland and Bangladesh to win their final games, so that the humiliation of finishing seventh in the Super Eights group will make it quite clear what one-day minnows the England side actually are, and to offer the only chance of the root and branch shake up so clearly needed.

  • 49.
  • At 08:50 PM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • bernie wrote:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a case of pouring the blame on Fletcher, more to the point, Vaughan and his merry men just do not have the killer instinct!!!

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