Cricket South Africa apologise for SBW masks

Cricket South Africa executives Clive Eksteen and Altaaf Kazi pose with fans in Williams masks on Friday

The photograph, taken on the first day of the second test in Port Elizabeth on Friday, shows Cricket South Africa's commercial and marketing head, Clive Eksteen, and communications head Altaaf Kazi standing and smiling with three men wearing masks with the face of New Zealand rugby worldwide Sonny Bill Williams.

The reason behind this mask being the controversial one is Warner's wife Candice was once associated with Williams in a well-publicised incident in Sydney in 2007.

While sports fans often engage in questionable behavior at stadiums, officials Eksteen, a former South Africa player, and Kazi are accused of condoning the taunting of Warner and his wife by South African supporters.

CSA's statement quoted president Chris Nenzani as saying‚ "On behalf of CSA I extend my honest apologies to the board of Cricket Australia‚ its officials‚ team management‚ players and their families".

Candice had an encounter with Williams 11 years ago, before she had met Warner and South African fans hoped to use that to antagonise the opening batsman.

This comes fresh from the controversy of the previous Test match, in which a fight broke out after a remark about Warner's wife by Quinton de Kock.

According to Fairfax Media, the Australian camp were aware of the masks going into the first day of the Test, and asked that they be banned.

Kagiso Rabada starred for South Africa on day one of the second test against Australia
GALLO IMAGES Kagiso Rabada starred for South Africa on day one of the second test against Australia

CSA tried to "distance itself" from the behaviour of Eksteen and Kazi when it apologised to CA.

CSA president Chris Nenzani said the organisation sent "sincere apologies to the board of Cricket Australia, its officials, team management, plays and their families". She is also a model and celebrity TV star.

Warner and de Kock were both fined after their ugly bust-up in Durban and the two teams have been warned by the match referee to keep their tempers in check.

The allegations are the latest distraction for Warner on what has been a hugely tumultuous series.

"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 spokesperson said.

A ban could see Rabada miss the rest of the series, but he will contest the charge.

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