Now is the best time to end quotas in cricket

2016-02-22 10:55

Now with remarkable Rabada, we can finally after only a brief period of twenty years of cricket transformation, put those premature talks of quotas behind us. Former Model-C primary schools' mini-cricket fields look just a hint more spottier now as an alarming mix of unconventional kids take to the sport. At private high schools, as many as two unconventional cricketers are now receiving smiles of admiration, high fives and hugs from their blessedly conventional team members.

Even that very, very, very conventional newspaper, great at brightening your morning with unconventional-truths, called 'Radaba' a drama queen. Not a hint of envy and sloppiness on their part – just a nice poetic headline – bringing to light his unconventionality and their generous embrace of diversity.

Those conventional school coaches who invested years in protecting the sanctity of the game on behalf of conventionals, have now relaxed their personal intelligent profiling system – you know, their gut feel, and are permitting those rare breed of unconventionals, who may have accidently been granted the gifts of bat and ball by the Almighty, to the sport. Thank you, sir. God bless.

One pale looking coach, acting in complete unconventional blindness when he gave a certain type of player an opportunity years ago (who typically turned out to be lazy and arrogant, as he had predicted) is even willing to throw just a little bit more caution to the wind again today, and curb his naturally perfect instincts in selections. Thank you, sir for transcending your beer filled gut feelings and for using that dangerous thing called logic and reason every now and then.

And as an unconventional looking in, I can see why conventional coaches need to resort to placing average unconventional cricketers in the franchise set up. You are educating us: “We told you so. Look. These unconventional guys are just not ready to take over.” You know, control the mass migration of unconventionals to the sport. Who will mine those valuable minerals? Who will pick the fruit and vegetables? Who will slaughter our meat? Who will wait on us? We do not want cricket to be overrun by unconventionals that can really play. This is not politics. This is not business. This is serious. This is sport. And the sport is under attack.

Not since Makhaya Ntini has there been such excitement about unconventionality in the sport. Even Cosatu is quiet. Isn’t it amazing how one remarkable individual can resolve the entire quota issue and bring about harmony to an entire sport? It reminds me of how unconventional Madiba magic resolved over 400 years of unfortunate bias against unconventionality just by donning the green and gold. And wishhh, anti-unconventionality disappeared from the social, political, legal, and economic systems, and gone was structural unconventionality and undeserved conventional privileges. Well you know these are the miracles in God’s Rainbow Nation.

My unconventional friends complain that they cannot be at a bar anymore when the cricket is on television. They say that when Rabada takes a wicket (and this has happened more often recently when compared to elite conventional bowlers of richer pedigree) some of those strange conventional people pat them on their back, and act as if it was their ‘boet’ that had just achieved another milestone. Some of my friends don’t even like cricket, preferring music and the arts, to sport. Others have no clue about the game and have no interest in it, as they are too busy trying to scrape a living, or more interested in soccer. Hey, at least these days we can all be boets with the conventionals for a second or so.

I often wondered whether Rabada should have been our surprise weapon at the last World Cup, but I guess given his unconventionality, a little more time was needed for him to mature – I mean for him to become more conventional. God forbids if he got himself run out, missed a run out opportunity, or got hit for a six off the last ball in a crucial World Cup match. I heard similar stories not so long ago about Amla’s batting technique needing to be little more conventional for test cricket from conventionals who were only thousands of runs short to boasting his record. Ah, the conventionals, they should know better, having earned the right, to feel like they personally invented the game.

I would be bowled over if we had two or more unconventional fast bowlers in the national team. But that is my unconventional greedy nature. I should be patient. These things are complicated. I hear unconventional bowlers take time to develop (About 1 every 10 years). I can appreciate that this is not some form of bias. Anti-unconventionality has been dead in South Africa. Unconventionality getting out of hand is the real problem. We have seen the track record of unconventionality in politics and business.

The unconventionals have to learn that some privileges must be earned. Unconventionals have to shed their emperor’s new clothes. Unconventionals have to get real. It is about hard work. It is about sacrifices. It is about attending the right schools. It is about having the right genes. It is about saying your prayers. It is about taking responsibility. It is about the school masters perception of your performance. It is about taking the school coaches advice. Unconventionals need to pull up their socks. Like during apartheid, it is always about merit.

And what about those unconventional ministers, administrators, selectors, and elite coaches – well, need we say more about those charismatic, no nonsense visionaries that have helped the sport accomplish great things, in only a few years.

Anyway, now is the best time to be a conventional cricketer. Now that we have as many as one or two world class unconventionals in the team. Now is the best time for the national cricket team to be conventional again.

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