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Thursday, 01 August 2013 08:43

Cricket: Why SCC Cricketer Was Removed as Captain

THE school at the centre of a row over the dropping of a schoolboy as its cricket captain because of a drop in form has revealed that the boy had scored only 17 runs in seven matches.


The Mercury newspaper reports that the 17-year-old captain of St Charles College’s first cricket team, who was removed as the captain and whose father had taken the school to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to force it to reinstate him, had lapsed in form, said the headmaster in court papers.

Allen van Blerk said the boy had scored 17 runs in seven matches between October 2 and January 12. His coach, Dave Karlsen, had counselled him about that.

Karlsen later found he could no longer support the boy’s inclusion in the first team, and a decision was made by the school’s selection committee to drop him as the captain.

It meant he would be included in the second team to play himself back into form.


“This is not a rare occurrence and the dropped player is then absorbed into the second team where he is given the opportunity to ‘play himself’ back into the first team,” Van Blerk said in court papers.

He said the application should be dismissed with costs because the appointment and removal of a pupil as captain of a sporting team was a matter of internal governance and the court had no power to intervene.

Van Blerk said the facts as stated by the father were incorrect. He denied allegations of racism made by the father, saying the school did not discriminate on the basis of race.


Players in the first team were chosen, on merit, by a selection committee. After a successful junior cricketing career, Karlsen named the boy captain at the end of the third term last year.

“Until his appointment as captain, he performed in a way which justified his appointment, on merit… the record demonstrates how his form had deteriorated over this period (October to January).”

He had also been selected for the KZN Inland Under-19 side but had withdrawn from playing and there were no records available from these matches .


The decision to drop him as the captain was made by the committee.

The boy and his father then visited Van Blerk and spoke to him about the decision. He said the boy should accept a position in the second team and prove himself.

“I told him it appeared to me that he was suffering a loss of form.” The headmaster undertook to investigate the matter but found nothing irregular.

At another meeting with both parents, the father was angry and threatened to take legal action.


Van Blerk added that much of the father’s affidavit was “vexatious and a personal attack on Karlsen”, who had instigated the boy’s appointment in the first place.

Karlsen had been coaching for 33 years and was used as a provincial representative coach.

“Karlsen believed that the captaincy was possibly affecting his performance as a batsman as this frequently happens… the boy assured Karlsen that the captaincy was not affecting his batting.”

The coach set up an extra practice session with the school’s cricket professional after a team practice, but the boy had left before his extra practice. Karlsen took up this issue with him and reprimanded him.

The father took exception to that and challenged Karlsen on his right to speak to his son on the issue.


When the initial application was brought by the father, the KwaZuluNatal Inland Cricket Union heard about it and tried to mediate. The case was adjourned indefinitely. That process was unsuccessful and the case will now be placed back on the court roll. No date has been set.

While the mediation was under way, the father served a letter of demand on Karlsen, for R2.1 million, claiming the boy had suffered damage to his dignity and reputation. No summons has been served on the coach yet.

Reported in The Mercury

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