- Aya Myoli is the latest cricketer to detail his racial treatment within cricket’s environment.
- The fast bowler said Frylinck punched him on a team bus from Cape Town, but faced scant disciplinary action from the Dolphins.
- Myoli dropped the charges after Frylinck apologised to him privately.
Lions fast bowler Aya Myoli has lifted the lid on the 2016 alleged racial assault at the hands of former Dolphins team-mate Robbie Frylinck while playing for KwaZulu-Natal Coastal.
The incident took place on a team bus to the airport in Cape Town on their way back from Paarl, where they faced Boland in a 3-Day game.
The details come in a week when cricket and rugby figures have stood in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with some, including Makhaya Ntini, detailing the injustices and racism they faced inside the sporting codes’ cloakrooms.
At the time, Myoli was in his first year as a franchise player, during a period where Cricket South Africa (CSA) had enforced strict selection policies to help speed up transformation in the game.
Myoli claims that this drew Frylinck’s ire and resulted in a heated verbal exchange between the two after Myoli took issue with Frylinck’s comments directed at black players.
“At that time, I think the domestic cricket policy was that you had to have six players of colour in an XI and five white guys,” Myoli told Sport24.
“But Lance (Klusener) brought in overseas guys, Dwayne Bravo and Kevin Pietersen. That meant there was not much space for white guys – I think only David Miller, Morne van Wyk and either Cameron Delport or Kyle Abbott played.
“Robbie Frylinck questioned why he wasn’t getting picked and [was frustrated] that Bravo and ‘KP’ were taking the ‘white spots’. I didn’t know all of this at the time, but found out later after the incident.
“It was my first season of franchise cricket that year. But I could hear all sorts of snide comments from Robbie about black players and stuff, constantly.”
Matters came to a head in the Western Cape when the pair went to play Boland.
During the 3-Day game, Myoli said Frylinck, the captain, starved him of bowling opportunities, to which Myoli took issue because he was one of the specialist pacemen in the team.
“During the game, he opened the bowling and I was supposed to come in as first change. But he bowled himself and others throughout; he even bowled spin at some point,” Myoli recalled.
“After a while, I went to him to ask what’s going on. Why aren’t you letting me bowl? He eventually gave me the ball much later on in the day. But, after two or three overs, he took me out of the attack.
“We lost the 3-Day game in two days. In the changing room afterwards, Robbie again had a go about black players, speaking nonsense about black players and he said: ‘The only thing you’re good at is writing letters to CSA’.
“This was also during the time when black players had written to Cricket SA saying, ‘Bibs must fall’ and ‘Drinks carriers must fall’, after the Khaya Zondo incident, where he toured India and didn’t play.
“I then raised my hand and told him this was a very sensitive issue. He kept quiet, but you could see, and even the coach Roger (Telemachus) could see, he had developed a foul attitude.”
From there, Myoli alleges, the sparks flew. In the team bus to the airport, according to Myoli, things got heated and that’s when Frylinck took matters into his own hands.
“On the bus to the airport, Robbie carried on where he left off, just talking nonsense about black players,” he said.
“I replied to him and we had an argument. I told him, ‘I saw what you did by not letting me bowl. When my child is the captain of a team, he’ll do the same thing to your child’.
“He got angry and then turned around and punched me. As I was about to fight back, two guys stopped me and tried to calm me down. I was very angry.
“Then, at the airport, I was still angry and asking him why he punched me. There were police at the airport, who tried to calm the situation down.
“We checked in without incident, but then when we went to board, I was told I can’t board because I was allegedly threatening someone on the flight. He went to go report that I was the one threatening him. I had to stay behind in Cape Town and couldn’t fly back to Durban. I had to sleep at a friend’s place that night.”
The coach, Telemachus, apparently did not travel back with the team to Durban that same day, which meant there was no senior manager to accompany the players and control the situation.
On the ensuing Monday, Myoli said he contacted his brother, who helped him draft a letter, detailing the incident for the Dolphins’ and CSA’s attention.
Shortly after, the Dolphins suspended Frylinck and commenced disciplinary action against the all-rounder, but the suspension lasted only a week.
Frylinck, according to Myoli, arrived for the hearing, held at former Dolphins CEO Pete de Wet’s office, with a legal representative. This was after De Wet advised Myoli that lawyers were not necessary.
“I had a friend in Durban who wanted to connect me with a lawyer to represent me on the disciplinary case against Robbie,” he said.
“But Pete called me and said, ‘Listen Aya, there’s no lawyers here. You don’t have to bring your lawyer to this thing, the union is on your side’. Then I told my friend I don’t need a lawyer, we are just going to talk this thing out.
“When I arrived at the offices for the hearing, I was wearing just jeans and a T-shirt. I saw Robbie in a suit and he came with a lawyer carrying a briefcase. This was after Pete said there was no need for lawyers.
“I had three teammates of mine who were going to be my witnesses, sitting and waiting at reception with me. Then I asked Pete about the involvement of lawyers, but I didn’t get a straight answer. He just said, ‘We’re going to sort it out, don’t worry’.
“I waited at reception the whole time and never entered into Pete’s office, while Robbie and his lawyer were in there the whole time. Then they called me in, saying Robbie is ready to apologise and they asked me to drop the police charges.
“I said ‘no, I won’t’ because he was still lying about the incident and wasn’t apologetic. He was still denying the assault. Pete then said to me, on the side, that they were going to punish him, but I wasn’t going to be privy to the kind of punishment. That was the only time I got into some sort of office conversation with Pete.
“That same day I flew to Johannesburg for a 3-Day game in Potchefstroom and I saw on the news that Frylinck has been cleared to play and his suspension was dropped. I was shocked. It was just over a week after the actual incident.”
The following year, Frylinck went on to make his international T20 debut for the Proteas against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein and played three times for the national team.
Myoli, who moved to the Lions immediately after the incident took place, at then-Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana’s behest, said he dropped the police charges after Frylinck apologised to him privately, saying he was “going through a lot”.
Speaking through current CEO Heinrich Strydom, who wasn’t involved with the organisation at the time of the incident, Frylinck said: “It’s all lies.”