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The social networking and microblogging service has been embraced by celebrities and sportspeople across the world who crave a direct connection to their fans, and who want to break out from behind the wall of public relations (PR) that is built around the rich and famous.
Recently, the Protea’s captain, Graeme Smith (@GraemeSmith49), turned to Twitter to vent after he heard some negative comments from former player and selector Kepler Wessels.
Smith, who has more than 26 000 Twitter followers, tweeted that he “finds it amazing that kepler can sit and say [we] should have picked a younger squad when he was 1 of the selectors who chose it! unbelievable!”.
This angry, emotional message was followed by another one only seven minutes later, which read “At least we own up to playing poorly. But all these so called experts/ex players I’m not sure I see a winners medal hanging round there [sic] necks!”
Wessels was a batting consultant for the team until recently but was not part of the squad that travelled to the Twenty20 World Cup. But his words clearly hit a nerve with a team who can sense that the public have had enough of their multiple failures at the highest level.
Just yesterday afternoon, Albie Morkel (@albiemorkel) tweeted this little gem: “Armchair critics, gotta love them”, while Mark Boucher (@markb46), normally a prolific tweeter, has been silent for over a week now.
On the day after his tirade, Smith was clearly feeling the pressure when he tweeted that he is “trying to find confidence in my game after long injury lay off!”
The mood is clearly unsettled and the team seem a far cry away from the swaggering, confident Proteas who stormed up the rankings to become the top Test team in the world a few short months ago.
Just this morning, Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) admitted as much in a tweet to a friend that read “its not for [me] to comment on but there are plenty of diff ideas floatin around da squad at da moment, sum we can’t understand [sic]”
As the squad adapts and transforms under their new convenor of selectors, their individual tweets will no doubt continue to be a rich source of information and insight into what it takes to be part of a team at the highest level of international competition.
Lalit Modi, the IPL and Twitter
Indian cricket administrator and businessman Lalit Modi is another well-known cricketing personality who uses Twitter heavily. Modi, who has more than 150 000 followers but follows just 24, finds his Tweets frequently quoted in Cricinfo, the world’s biggest cricketing site.
According to Wikipedia, a Twitter entry by Modi set in motion a “highly controversial set of events which led to the resignation of the then Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Shashi Tharoor”.