Cricket South Africa’s decision to take action against Lizelle Lee had more to do with her lack of overall fitness than her actual weight, which she misrepresented anyway, CSA insiders have claimed.
Lee shocked the world game on July 8 when she suddenly announced his retirement international cricket on the eve of the ODI series in England. Her joint statement with the ASC, which also received input from the players’ association and its agent, said she felt she had “given everything I could to the Proteas” and “I feel that I am ready for the next phase of my career and that I will continue to play national T20 cricket around the world.
It later emerged that Lee retired because the CSA pulled her from the England tour and threatened not to give her a No Objection Certificate (NOC), which would stop her playing. in foreign leagues. The 30-year-old claimed in a BBC podcast last week that it was because she failed a fitness test because of her weight.
‘weigh too much’
“It was because of my looks and my weight… If you break it down, I did fitness but I didn’t gain weight, so they let me down because of my weight. As a woman , that breaks me. That’s probably one of the hardest things to hear, to say that you’re not able to play for a team because you weigh too much,” Lee said.
But CSA insiders said The citizen that his misrepresentation of his weight was a major issue and that the organization was fed up with their continued struggles to get Lee into shape.
They also refuted her claim that she was dropped due to her weight.
According to CSA policy, a player’s fitness is measured via four tests which are awarded points totaling 10. To be declared fit to play, six points are required. A score of four or five will see a player placed on probation and retested. Three points or less cause the player to be declared unfit to play.
The weight part of the test is only worth 2 points, like the strength test, while the skinfold measurement and the 2 km endurance test are worth 3 points each.
So even though Lee was 5% over her target weight and received no points in this section, she only had to earn 3/8 for the other tests.
According to correspondence between CSA and Lee which The citizen saw, Lee was allowed to take her pre-England tour tests in Ermelo and then retest in England.
Lee did, but didn’t do her weight because she said she had already measured it in the morning and relayed the number to strength and conditioning coach Zane Webster.
On July 5, Proteas director Sedibu Mohlaba sent Lee an urgent email asking for clarification on what happened with his Ermelo test.
Lee explained and admitted that she was “afraid that it might…lead to me not being selected. I now know it was wrong.”
On July 6, CSA’s Cricket Pathways manager Eddie Khoza emailed Lee saying she had been removed from the tour for “failing to meet fitness standards.” He said they wouldn’t grant her CNP until she met and maintained the requirements.
“Not honest with us”
“We tried corrective measures, we bent over backwards for her,” said a CSA insider. “We were ready to support her through a fitness program.
“We didn’t want to demonize her, but now what she’s saying is different from the statement that she, SACA and her agent were involved in.
“She was not honest with us, her fitness tests were done fraudulently. She is now trying to embarrass us and has gone rogue.
Lee’s retirement has deprived the Proteas of one of their few truly world-class players, although she has been in poor form lately, having not made it past 40 since September 2021.