Cape Town - Cricket South Africa’s case against its national men’s coach Mark Boucher has suffered an almost fatal blow with Paul Adams stating that he will not testify against his former Proteas teammate.
Adams had been at the forefront of the alleged charges of racism against Boucher since speaking out at CSA’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings last year, where he claimed that he was referred to as “brown sh*t” during team songs.
Boucher was identified as part of the Proteas team that participated in these post-match activities in the dressing room during the late 1990s.
Despite Boucher since publicly apologising for his behaviour, CSA charged the former national wicket-keeper with gross misconduct and will appear before a disciplinary hearing next week headed by senior counsel, Advocate Terry Motau.
Adams, who played 34 of his 45 Test matches alongside Boucher, has now indicated that he had "no intention to single out Boucher" and that his only focus was to "make cricket a winning and binding game for all".
"In my testimony, I said that during my time in the national team, there was a culture within that environment, that felt it was fine for a derogatory nickname given to me, to be sung during fines meetings in the changing room, by my fellow teammates," Adams said in a statement posted on social media.
"I indicated, upon reflection and after discussing with my wife (my girlfriend at the time) that I felt humiliated by the song. Not at any stage did I mention any player's name who may have initiated the song.
"The only time I confirmed a name, was when the panel asked if I addressed Mark Boucher personally regarding the nickname, and I replied that he was part of a broader group that sang the song and that I never addressed the matter within the team environment at the time. Not at any stage did I go in there with the intention to single Mark Boucher out."
"It is not my job or desire to find Mark Boucher guilty or not guilty and to be cross-examined and turned into the main focus of attention. Therefore I will not be testifying at Mark Boucher's upcoming disciplinary hearing.”
Adams, who is now coach of the Eastern Cape Iinyathi provincial side based at Buffalo Park in East London, believes CSA should instead focus on trying to make the game more inclusive for all.
"I was young and naive at the time, trying to fit in and represent my country as best I could," Adams said.
"I spoke my truth of what happened to me as a young player, as per the process adopted by CSA on a serious issue in the game. The feelings articulated by myself and three dozen other senior players and coaches last year will hopefully help CSA find a new way in making cricket a winning and binding game for all.
“Again, my wish is that the same environment that existed when we played, must never repeat itself. If changes are made and situations such as these are learnt from, then my purpose of telling my story at the SJN has been achieved."