Domestic cricket teams on a sticky wicket when fielding black players

2013-10-06 14:00

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The Cape Cobras and the Knights should be worried ahead of this week’s CSA board meeting to vote on quotas, writes Khanyiso Tshwaku.

Cricket SA (CSA) will vote on whether to have quotas introduced at the franchise and provincial levels at their board meeting this week.

If the motion is passed on Thursday, franchise teams would have to field two black African players, and provincial teams three.

If there are two franchises with a serious case to answer, they are the Cape Cobras and the Knights.

These teams have the most to do in sorting out their transformation numbers.

Of their player complement for their respective 2012/13 Sunfoil Series campaigns, where they were champions and came fourth, they were second last and last in their transformation quotas.

Based in a predominantly coloured area, the Cobras’ demographics were dictated to by the number of coloured players in the squad in the form of Beuran Hendricks, Yaseen Vallie and captain Justin Ontong, who has has represented the Proteas in a few ODIs.

But they went through their victorious Sunfoil Series campaign without a black African player.

The Knights used a single black African player in Malusi Siboto, even though they were captained by Ryan Bailey, who is coloured.

Teams who have met their targets comfortably, without quotas, are the Highveld Lions and the Warriors.

They consistently field more than two black African players in their competitive matches.

The South African Rugby Union has already announced quotas for the second-tier Vodacom Cup, where teams have to field five black African players in their starting line-ups.

CSA deputy president and Boland Cricket Association president Peter Cyster said the other board members were not at liberty to talk to the media.

He referred all enquiries to CSA president Chris Nenzani.

“We are not at liberty to discuss this issue with the media as it will be raised at Thursday’s board meeting,” said Cyster.

But a CSA source said quotas have been a long time coming as South Africa’s white population had been thinning for quite some time.

The board member said South African cricket could find itself in a more serious position than Zimbabwe if it did not enforce quotas to push through black players.

The board member said: “When the current crop of players move on, are they going to rush players into the deep end?

“Look at what happened in Zimbabwe when the white players turned their backs on the game. The Africans came in and they were walloped.

“However, they improved over time and look at what they did against Pakistan.

“Our environment is such that there isn’t a big focus on black players, which is skewed because the majority of our population is black. We are just seen an appendage of society.”

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