'Average' Jonty aware of privileged selection

Jonty Rhodes (Gallo Images)
Jonty Rhodes (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former South African batsman Jonty Rhodes admitted that he had benefited from his skin colour to earn his debut selection for the national side in February 1992.

Currently, the Proteas must field six players of colour - including two black Africans - on average, per game across all three formats but no such requirements were expected of the national side on their return to international cricket in the early 1990s.

Rhodes played 52 Tests and 245 ODIs for the Proteas and is known as one of the best fielders to have ever played the game.

With the bat in hand, Rhodes averaged 35.11 in one-day cricket and 35.66 in Test cricket.

In a candid interview with the Hindu, the 50-year-old acknowledged that white privilege was evident in the early 90s and stated that when making his debut, he only had to compete with white players.

"I certainly benefited from the fact that I wasn't really competing with 50% of the population. I literally was competing only with the white players," Rhodes told the Indian publication.

"You talk about white privilege and it raises a lot of heat and debate on social media but it is the case. I'm very aware of that. My cricketing statistics as a player were very average when I was selected.

"If I was competing with the rest of the country then possibly I wouldn't have been picked. And I would not have been diving around the field."

Rhodes revealed his shock at the current state of South African cricket, where there are real no significant improvements in disadvantaged communities.

"The biggest question for me is why in over 20 years have we not produced opportunities for young players in disadvantaged communities? It's not about racism. It's about equal opportunity and that's not happening," said Rhodes.

Bringing transformation into the ongoing Test series between the Proteas and England, head coach Mark Boucher will be without Kagiso Rabada for the Wanderers Test as a result of an ICC suspension for the fast bowler. 

This means that Boucher will only have the choice of two black players in the 16 player squad - Temba Bavuma and Andile Phehlukwayo.

The Proteas are trailing the four-match Test series 2-1, with the fourth and final Test scheduled to get underway on Friday at the Wanderers.

Proteas Test squad:

Faf du Plessis (Titans, captain), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Pieter Malan (Cape Cobras), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Keegan Petersen (Knights)

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

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