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South African officials set to face music over 'disgraceful' taunt

Port Elizabeth: Two executives who posed with spectators wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks are set to face the music from Cricket South Africa in Johannesburg on Monday as one of David Warner's former teammates labelled the attack on the opener's wife, Candice, as "disgraceful".

Clive Eksteen, CSA’s head of commercial and marketing, and Altaaf Kazi, the head of communications, were at St George's Park on the second day of the second Test on Saturday but were ordered back to CSA headquarters for disciplinary proceedings.

Cricket Australia said in a statement on Sunday that it "appreciates the swift response, including the sincere apology from CSA, and the seriousness with which the matter is being treated”.

As they face possible dismissal, Warner again found himself the centre of attention over questions about taping on his left hand.

The Australian vice-captain is the team's chief ball shiner on the field and the television cameras focused on the adhesive material, which covered his index finger and thumb and part of his hand, on the second day of the match.

Warner has written the names of his wife and children on the bandaging.


South Africa had not complained to the umpires, however, and match referee Jeff Crowe has told the Australian camp he has no problem with the bandage at all.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh also scoffed at any suggestions of ball tampering.

“David’s had a lot of broken fingers. He doesn’t bowl. At the end of the day it’s just tape," Marsh said.

"It’s just tape. He shines the ball and that’s it. There’s not much more to say really.”

Warner has broken the thumb on his left hand twice before, and the index finger once and his most recent problem was a bruised hand sustained when he was captaining Australia during the recent Twenty20 international tri-series involving New Zealand and England. The bandaging is there to protect hot spots in his hand, according to the Australian camp.

The tape issue emerged as Cricket Australia weighed in on Fairfax Media's revelation that the CSA officials had been pictured smiling with three men in Williams masks on day one here. Eksteen and Kazi had also overturned a security decision to confiscate the masks at the turnstiles, allowing the fans into the ground with them.

CA chairman David Peever arrived in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and was at the ground on Sunday.

“Cricket Australia spoke to Cricket South Africa officials yesterday to express disappointment with this matter and events that unfolded off-field Friday at St George’s Park," a CA spokeswoman said.

CA could also potentially push for the International Cricket Council to bring charges against Eksteen and Kazi under the code of conduct for players and player support personnel.

The ICC code spells out that it will not accept “using language or a gesture that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to a player, player support personnel, match official or a third person including a spectator".

CA, however, appeared content at the weekend to have CSA deal with the two executives internally.

Warner's former teammate Ryan Harris, the Australian under-19s coach, meanwhile slammed the taunting of the vice-captain by involving his wife.

South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had in Durban triggered an angry reaction from the opener when he made an insult about Candice Warner as the players walked towards the dressing rooms on the fourth afternoon. Both players were charged by Crowe for bringing the game into disrepute.

“It is disgraceful. It has been very unfair for Candice,” Harris said on Channel 9's Sports Sunday program. “As soon as I saw [the altercation with de Kock] happen I said to my wife, ‘Something personal has been said there’ because I know Davey pretty well.

"He goes pretty hard on the field but in my experiences with him, he doesn’t cross that line with personal stuff about opposition players.

“It has to stop. When you mention family and especially girls, it is not the way to go.

“I don’t condone the way David reacted and obviously we have seen the apology he has talked about. He went over the top, probably.

“If someone says that about my wife and my kids or my family, I’m reacting in a pretty stern way as well.”