Kass Naidoo

Transformation a touchy subject

2007-02-07 10:18

Kass Naidoo

People often question my right to commentate on international cricket, never having played the game. But I haven't come in as an expert, my dream to commentate was born when I realised that all South Africans can be a part of cricket.

And I've come to understand that some people who appear to judge me harshly, are merely speaking from their personal experiences of cricket, and that their frustration isn't necessarily unjustified.

When she came to South Africa back in 1993, although West Indian, Donna Symmonds had never played top flight cricket and commentated in a way that I felt included.

The national team was still all-white, and cricket appeared to be the preserve of a privileged few. Hearing Symmonds discuss the game on TV, I decided I would follow in her footsteps, and help open this wonderful game to all.

Since then, we have watched cricket go through dramatic and painful change. On the positive side, our national team is more representative than ever, women in townships are coaching Bakers Mini Cricket, and cricket is becoming the preferred sport for all.

Old guard

But, not everyone is happy with its radical makeover. Those who confidently owned the game for so long had to make way for those whose forefathers were excluded.

Some of the old guard have openly stated that they won't support the national team, and will instead watch as the current system fails under its enormous pressures.

Predictably, the current administration insists transformation will happen, with or without its detractors. The sad thing is that most parties genuinely love SA cricket, and many even have valid issues.

We often fail to realise that everyone sees the world differently, and nobody is automatically wrong. We all come from personal perspectives, which others don't necessarily share or understand.

Embrace the vision

Unless the chasms between the camps are bridged, my fear is that our former players and their wealth of experience will be needlessly lost to a generation.

But in determining their role, former players must either embrace the current vision or become honest and vigorously outspoken critics. They can't wear both caps.

Let's face two distinct realities, unlikely to change in our lifetimes: Firstly, our country is on the road to equality, by choice or by force of law.

Secondly, the game is professional, and the momentum is with the youth.

We can rail against inequities, and we can moan about how the game is changed. But if we truly love cricket, it's up to us to change with it, and make a difference.

  • Kass Naidoo is editor of gsport... for Girls!

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