Zimbabwean’s exlusion from Inland match leaves a sour taste

2010-02-17 00:00

THAT prospective KZN Inland debutant Prosper Tsvanhu was forced to withdraw from the first-class match against South Western Districts in Oudtshoorn at the weekend has left a sour taste in the mouth.

Pietermaritzburg University student Tsvanhu, a Zimbabwean, stated in an e-mail forwarded to The Witness by a prominent cricket columnist yesterday: “On the morning of day one I was presented with my cap.

“After tea, I was summoned by the match referee, coach and captain. They explained that a Cricket South Africa official in charge of the competition had ordered that I be taken out of the team because I’m a foreigner and the tournament is for South Africans only.

“Doug Watson, the coach, explained to me later that, because of the quota system that says that each team shall have six whites and five blacks, I was unable to make the team before.

“If I were to play, I’d have to fill in one of the white players’ spots.

“He personally called me last week to say there was a slot for me, finally, and I was eligible to play because I’m studying.

“So the news surprised him as much as it did me.”

Whether Watson said this or not, evidence from matches this season suggest there is actually no limit on the number of “black” players allowed to play.

Another contentious Provincial Challenge rule that provokes heated debate is the maximum of six “white” players allowed in a team. Rightly or wrongly, that is a competition rule.

“Garry Hampson, who is coaching the side we played against, was also distraught and he investigated the issue by phoning the CSA official [who] revealed that a journalist from Ma­ritzburg [Jonathan Cook] had rung him complaining about my inclusion, so he was left with no choice,” said Zimbabwean Tsvanhu.

The Witness writer did not “complain”, simply “queried”, and has raised this question before in the case of two players who have represented Inland — Tafadzwa Chihota and Qasim Khurshid.

The point is that the thrust of this competition is apparently to groom players for franchise cricket.

The Zimbabwean and Pakistani did not play for Inland again, so Inland did not know the rules then either.

This is about the rules that accompany a competition, as is the case with franchise cricket, where a limit is placed on overseas players — and in England, where issues like Kolpak and eligibility for the country are nailed down by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Also, you can’t simply go and play professional soccer in England or pro rugby in Australia, for example — you need to be eligible via the granting of a work permit and so on.

These issues are clear. The responsibility lies with the relevant cricket body — KZN Inland and Cricket SA in this case — to ensure a player is eligible, pure and simple.

Tsvanhu said he was “shattered” and that Hampson was “distraught”.

In the player’s case, that emotion can be squarely laid at Inland’s door. In Hampson’s case, he should not have been surprised as he is well aware of the Chihota incident in which he was one of the selectors who chose the Zimbabwean for Inland a season ago.

It’s interesting, too, that the aforesaid journalist was alert to the rules in all three cases mentioned, but Inland were not.

In summary, everything points to KZN Inland neglecting to do their homework.

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