The truth about Proteas cricketer Liesel Lee’s retirement

Cricket South Africa’s decision to take action against Liesel Lee had more to do with her lack of fitness than her actual weight, which she misrepresented anyway, according to CSA insiders.

Li shocked the world game on July 8 when she suddenly announced her retirement from international cricket on the eve of the ODI series in England. Her joint statement with the CSA, which also included the players’ association and her agent, said she feels like she “gave everything I could to the Proteas” and “I feel ready for the next phase of my career and will keep playing.” to home T20 cricket around the world.”

It was subsequently revealed that Lee had retired because the CSA withdrew her from the England tour and threatened not to issue her a No Objection Certificate (NOC) which would have prevented her from playing in foreign leagues. A 30-year-old man stated BBC podcast last week that it was because she failed a fitness test because of her weight.

Liesel Lee in 2016.
Liesel Lee, shown here in 2016, has been playing for South Africa since 2013 when she made her ODI and T20 debuts. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

“too much to weigh”

“It was because of the way I look and how much I weigh… To put it bluntly, I was into fitness, but I didn’t gain my weight, so I get dumped because of my weight. It breaks me as a woman. It’s probably one of the hardest things to say that you can’t play for a team because you weigh too much,” Lee said.

But CSA insiders told Citizen that her weight misrepresentation was a serious problem, and that the organization was tired of their ongoing struggle to get Lee in shape.

They also denied her claim that she was dropped due to her weight.

Fitness Assessment

According to CSA policy, a player’s fitness is measured using four tests, which are scored for a total of 10. Six points are required to be considered fit to play. After scoring four or five points, the player will receive a trial period and will be re-tested. Three points or less results in the player being declared unfit to play.

The weight portion of the test is worth only 2 points, as is the strength test, while the skinfold measurement and the 2km endurance test are worth three points each.

So even if Li was 5% over her target weight and scored zero on this section, she must have only scored 3/8 on the other tests.

According to correspondence between CSA and Lee, which Citizen saw Lee being allowed to be tested ahead of the England tour at Ermelo and then re-tested in England.

Lee did so, but did not measure her weight because she said she had already measured it in the morning and passed the number on to strength and conditioning coach Zane Webster.

On July 5, Proteas manager Sedibu Mohlaba sent an urgent email to Lee asking for clarification on what happened to her Ermelo test.

Lee explained and admitted that she was “afraid that it might… lead to me not being selected. Now I know it was wrong.”

On July 6, CSA Cricket Pathways head Eddie Hoza emailed Lee to inform her that she had been removed from the tour due to “not meeting fitness standards”. He said they would not issue her a NOC until she met the requirements.

“Not fair to us”

“We took corrective action, but for her, we went awry,” a CSA insider said. “We were ready to support her through a fitness program.

“We did not want to demonize her, but now what she says is different from the statement that she, SACA and her agent are involved in.

“She was not honest with us, her fitness tests were fraudulent. Now she is trying to embarrass us and has become a fraud.”

Lee’s retirement has left Proteas one of the few truly world-class players, although she has been in poor shape lately, having not gone over 40 since September 2021.