Two senior Cricket South Africa officials face strict action after posing with audiences wearing masks showing the face of All Black rugby player Sonny Bill Williams during the second Test against Australia on Friday. The masks were likely to have been worn to insult Australian batsman David Warner, whose wife reportedly had an encounter with Williams in 2007 before meeting Warner.
There have been appeals on social media for audiences to wear the masks following a row between Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock during the first Test, which Warner blamed was ignited when De Kock insulted his wife.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Cricket South Africa keep themselves apart from the action of the officials, marketing manager Clive Eksteen, and communications manager Altaaf Kazi. Eksteen is a former South African Test player. The two officials were filmed with three spectators wearing the masks at the match at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The statement said CSA had taken “immediate precautionary steps” against the officials and that there would be an internal disciplinary process. CSA president Chris Nenzani said, added: “On behalf of CSA I extend my sincere apologies to the board of Cricket Australia, its officials, team management, players and their families.”
“Cricket South Africa wishes to distance itself from the alleged action of certain officials in associating themselves with fans wearing masks representing the face of Sonny Bill Williams, which conduct is seemingly related to the Warner/De Kock incident during the opening day of the second Sunfoil Test match at St George’s Park,” the statement said.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian team was “outraged” by a decision to allow the masks to be brought into the ground.