SA-born cricketers shine on WC oval

2011-03-05 19:37

There have been several outstanding performances by South Africans after two weeks of the Cricket World Cup – and not all of them have been kitted out in green and gold.

The exodus of professionals, not just cricketers, from South Africa to Europe is well recorded and some excellent players are appearing for adopted countries at this tournament.

It would be extremely disingenuous to say all these players were driven away by selection policies geared towards ­transformation.

Two of England’s best batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, and Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate were not quick to show their talent to their full while they were young players in South ­Africa.

And the lure of earning pounds will always be a strong pull, especially if you can make yourself even more attractive to your county employers by ­becoming a “local” player due to your heritage.

Pietersen, Trott and Ten ­Doeschate all matriculated around 1997/98 and it is true that that was the period when some very good cricketers decided to further their careers elsewhere as administrators began to implement measures to speed up transformation of teams.

But it would be unfair to consider Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior as South Africans.

They may both have been born in Johannesburg, but they grew up in England.

There are also some fine South African-born coaches involved in the World Cup: Gary Kirsten has the massive task of steering India; and Andy Flower, the Zimbabwean born in Cape Town, is England’s coach.

Allan Donald (New Zealand), Jonty Rhodes (Kenya), Eric ­Simons and Paddy Upton ­(India) all have back-room jobs as well.

But for the rest of the emigrants, their departure really shouldn’t bother South Africans.

They would never have made the national team but, to their credit, wanted to get out of their comfort zones and try and play international cricket.

The fact that South Africa’s current team is one of the favourites shows that the selectors and administrators could not have erred too much.

Proteas have more talent than places to fill, so some of their players will end up ­elsewhere.

And the vast majority of these exports don’t irritate us by bad-mouthing their motherland.

There is always an exception, however, and Pietersen has been extremely vocal about how his exit was forced by “quotas”.

Victory over England in Chennai today would be an excellent way to shut him up.

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