Petersen steps down as Lions captain

Proteas star Alviro Petersen has stepped down as captain of the Bizhub Highveld Lions

Alviro Petersen has stepped down as captain of the Bizhub Highveld Lions. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Alviro Petersen has stepped down as captain of the Bizhub Highveld Lions, following suspected interference by the Lions board and the convener of selectors.

The alleged interference took place in the lead up to the opening round of the Ram Slam T20 tournament, which took place at the Cell C Festival of Cricket.

After a series of events within the Lions camp, Highveld Lions chairman Archie Pretorius and convenor of selectors Hussein Manack convened an emergency meeting with Petersen and coach Geoff Toyana, seeking to clarify their roles and responsibilities as captain and coach, respectively.

While the exact details of the meeting have not been revealed to the public, it is believed that Petersen viewed the meeting agenda as interference by Manack and the board.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, Petersen indicated his decision to step down as captain.

Despite efforts to convince him to delay the decision, he informed the team on the morning of the match that he had stepped down.

Wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has assumed the captain's role in the wake of Petersen's decision, with Jean Symes retaining the vice captaincy.

Speaking on the appointment, Tsolekile said Petersen's decision came as a surprise.

"It was unexpected but, as a professional, one must always be able to step up to the plate when your name is called. I have led the team before and will try my best to carry on in the footsteps of Alviro."

Toyana refused to divulge the details of the meeting, but thanked Petersen for his contribution as captain of the Johannesburg-based franchise.

"I want to thank Alviro for his leadership and contribution as captain, on and off the field, over the past few years. Knowing Alviro as a professional, he will continue to be a great asset to the team as a senior player."

Lions Chief Executive Officer, Greg Fredericks, said that he respects Petersen's decision, even though it came as a surprise.

"I want to thank Alviro for his leadership over the past few years when the Lions achieved the most success in recent times. We do however have to look forward as we still have two competitions in which we want to do well. I also want to thank Thami for agreeing to take over the captaincy at such short notice."