South African cricket plans to overcome racial imbalances in the sport with quotas for black players in national teams. Cricket, rugby, netball and athletics have come under fire for a perceived lack of black players.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) wants a minimum number of black cricketers in all national teams, its president, Chris Nenzani, said on Tuesday, although he did not give details regarding the number of black players that must be selected.
Until now, the unwritten rule has been that the national team would never field an all-white eleven, but this has rarely been translated in the side's line-ups.
"This (the implementation of the quota) will depend on work to be undertaken by relevant committees to determine what is realistic and sustainable," Nenzani said. "In the past we never set targets in our national teams, but with changing circumstances we feel it is essential to move with the times," he went on, adding that targets would be calculated over a year and not apply on a match-by-match basis.
Banned from bidding or holding events
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula recently banned cricket, rugby, netball and athletics from bidding for or hosting international competitions until a transformation review next April. He has been critical of what he says is the slow rate of transformation in the country's major sporting codes, except for soccer, where national teams tend to be made up of mainly black players.
Not everyone agreed with the minister's decision. Former South African cricketer Jacques Kallis (pictured above), said he was "embarrassed" to be South African after the decision was made earlier this year.
But while more than 90 percent of South Africans are black, they remain in a minority in the starting line-ups for many national teams. Racial quotas are already in place in domestic cricket, with the six top-tier teams compelled to field at least six black players.
The national rugby body and the government have agreed that the Springboks team in the 2019 World Cup should be at least 50 percent black. Only three black players regularly started in the last tournament in 2015.
jbh (AFP, AP, Reuters)