JOHANNESBURG: Former Cricket South Africa president Ray Mali says ex-coach Mickey Arthur's claims that retiring pacer Makhaya Ntini used the race card after being dropped from the side are lies.
Arthur, who now coaches Western Australian in Perth, alleges in his book 'Taking the Mickey', to be released on Monday, that he had been called to a breakfast meeting where the then cricket boss Mtutuzeli Nyoka had apologised to Ntini after the latter had complained that Arthur and captain Graeme Smith did not want black players in the side.
Mali, who is now looking after Athletics South Africa, refuted Arthur's claims and told the Daily Dispatch, "There's no such thing. Mickey is lying. Makhaya said no such thing."
"Makhaya did not play the race card. Mickey must not try to sell his book using Makhaya. I deny that outright."
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Mali said he remembered a meeting with Ntini after the announcement of the team from which Ntini had been omitted. He said Ntini's gripe was not about alleged racism but about his feelings of still not being recognised as a senior player a decade after he had joined the team.
Ntini, who became a star after first being a herd boy in a rural area, announced his retirement from international cricket last week.
His final game will be against India in Durban on January 9 next year.
Arthur's book follows exactly a week after a controversial autobiography by one-time Proteas star opener Herschelle Gibbs, whose revelations of sex, drink and booze binges made international headlines even as he faced possible legal action from his bosses at Cricket South Africa and former teammates.