Cape Town – Cricket South Africa have expressed their regret related to their "unintentional" omittance of former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir in a social media post on Saturday morning.
Cricket SA posted a congratulatory message on Instagram to fast bowler Lungi Ngidi for being part of the Chennai Super Kings' Indian Premier League winning team.
The irony of the post was that Ngidi did not play in the final against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai on Friday evening, but Du Plessis had in fact won the Player of the Match award for his breathtaking 86 off just 59 balls to spearhead the Super Kings charge to their fourth IPL title.
Tahir did not also not play in the final, but was part of the Chennai squad.
The Instagram post, which has since been deleted by Cricket SA, prompted a response from Du Plessis, who stated "Really...." before former Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn climbed into the debate, posting that it was "disgusting" that Du Plessis and Tahir were omitted.
"CSA regrets any unintended harm that may have been caused by the social media post, which went out this morning. There was no intention to purposefully omit any player. We apologise UNEQUIVOCALLY to all impacted persons," the CSA Marketing department stated.
Independent Media understands that Cricket SA have social media guidelines that stipulate they specifically highlight nationally contracted players in their posts.
Du Plessis and Tahir, who both served the Proteas for almost a decade, are both no longer contracted to CSA as they play as "free agents" in T20 Leagues around the world.
This is the latest indicent between CSA and the "free agents" after both Du Plessis and Tahir were left out of the Proteas squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup despite publicly stating their availability for the global tournament.
Cricket SA Director Graeme Smith explained their omission at the squad announcement last month.
“When you are working with free agents you have to come together. You have to find that balance that works for both the team and the free agents,” said Smith. “With Faf in particular we struggled to find that balance.”
Steyn weighed in on this discussion too after the IPL final.
"You have to feel for Faf. I feel for Faf,” Steyn said of his former Proteas captain on ESPN Cricinfo’s T20 Timeout show.
“He is in the country where the T20 World Cup is about to happen and he almost scored 90 in an IPL final and he is going to be on the next plane EK475 back to Cape Town in two days. I can’t even talk about it, but it blows my mind."
South Africa's highest wicket-taker in Test cricket also shared some words of wisdom with Cricket SA after they blocked the comments section on the now deleted post.
"Here’s some advice. Do the right thing. Delete the post and add all the men involved, save yourself the embarrassment and ridicule," Steyn posted.
“CSA opening a can of worms for themselves with their Twitter and Instagram. Whoever’s running those accounts needs a talking too (sic).”