South Africa news February 23, 2016

Arendse appointed to tackle black player grievances

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Norman Arendse (left) will lead a task force to address black player grievances © Getty Images

CSA has appointed their lead independent board director and chairman of the transformation committee, Norman Arendse, as convener of a task team to address the grievances voiced by black African cricketers last year, following a meeting with sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, in which it was made clear that the issue needed to be tackled as a matter of urgency.

Last November, a group of cricketers calling themselves Black Players in Unity wrote a letter to CSA detailing their concerns at being picked in national squads but not playing enough games. They were driven by the case of Khaya Zondo who travelled with the limited-overs squads to India in October 2015 but did not play a single game.

The minister's immediate stance on the issue was made clear in an interview with City Press. "I support the stance taken by the players," he wrote. "The issues of players being selected but not being picked for matches is old and has not only been raised by the players but the public. These players are not doing it for themselves but for generations to come."

Haroon Lorgat, CSA's chief executive, and Chris Nenzani, the president, confirmed receipt of the letter while still in India for the Test series and insisted that it would receive "priority attention at the highest level", with Mbalula responding that he was "encouraged" by a proposed meeting between the board and the players.

However, in the weeks that followed, there were no updates on whether a meeting had taken place or a solution reached. The only mention of the issue arose when it emerged in January that Aaron Phangiso, a black African player, had been sanctioned for drunken behaviour on a flight in October. The incident, however, was not made public or even shared with CSA's board, with Lorgat confirming to The Times that he and Nenzani had chosen to "contain the matter … in view of the black African player issue that had surfaced at that time".

In addition, CSA has been required to brief the minister on selection policies, guidelines and procedure which would include information on any transformation targets or quotas. The ministry said CSA's report was "well received, however there was general agreement that there are glaring gaps and inadequacies in the policy that are in conflict with the sports barometer and transformation charter".

The ministry did not go into further detail on where it believes CSA is failing to meet its obligations. However, it said the board had agreed to consultation aimed at policy review, adding that the board would "discuss the principle of merit selection in relation to the quality of opportunity." Broadly, that relates to whether players of colour are given sufficient chances to succeed at the highest level.

The ministry confirmed CSA have signed a memorandum of agreement, similar to the one signed by the South African Rugby Union last year, in order to guarantee their commitment to achieving transformation targets. Currently, CSA have targets at domestic level that require that every franchise must field six players of colour, of which three must be black African. CSA claim not to have official national quotas but unofficially, it is recommended that at least four players of colour take the field in every XI, of which one is black African.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brokensaint on February 27, 2016, 7:03 GMT

    Sri Lanka was suspended for less so how is it that the ICC is still doing nothing

  • Kingkallis92 on February 25, 2016, 18:14 GMT

    Utterly ridiculous. You don't create meaningful, genuine transformation with window dressing like this. Zondo didn't play because he wasn't good enough, and that should be all that matters. If government was really committed to transformation in cricket, they would commit the funds and investment to grass roots development, improving schools and providing greater access to facilities and coaching at young age groups.

  • hipp on February 25, 2016, 18:04 GMT

    Its great to see how many (over 95%) of the comments support a non racial, merit based cricket side (All sports should be the same). The politicians should spend more money and effort helping the disadvantaged. Over time if the administration truly cares about ALL disadvantaged people Black AND white then we will all see the optimum results.

    No other country uses the race issue to select teams. I think we were booted out of the ICC for doing that! It's going to happen again if the administration do not discover the enlightened world of democracy.

  • clov on February 25, 2016, 8:35 GMT

    @HOMER007 I'm not saying Zondo is as good as Miller (I doubt even Zondo believes that) - my point was just that people who dismiss Zondo on account of his modest FC record should look at the relevant stats. After all, if Zondo has a slightly better List A record for the Dolphins than Miller, surely that reflects poorly on Miller, who most would agree is far more talented? At least, it shows that Zondo isn't as poor as some people on here claim.

    Also, Zondo wasn't even in the 2016 IPL auction, so how could he have been picked? In any case, I'm not sure how reliable a guide this 'free market for SA talent' is - Amla, Rossouw, and Elgar were all unsold in the last IPL auction (so was Mahela Jayawardene). Are these players rubbish now because no IPL franchise wants them? Is Miller better than Amla and Jayawardene because of his IPL price?

    I agree that Zondo's selection looked like window-dressing. But it could also be because he scored 86 against India A when others were struggling...

  • ProteaCricketLover on February 25, 2016, 8:26 GMT

    South African cricket is heading towards a quick demise if more 'coloured' players are going to be given chances in the next few years, over the deserving ones. A situation which will only lead to more White players choosing to ply the trade elsewhere. Just imagine if someone like AB hangs up his boots! If the Black players have grievances, let them prove their talent and consistency in the domestic circuit and merit their places like Ntini, Bavuma and Rabada did. How many have done that in the past twenty years? The inept politicians are ruining the game. They must improve the grassroots for that.

    @TOMMYTUCKERSAFFA: I can only imagine what de Lange must be going through. I really hope that he gets more chances this year!

    @GermanPlayer: Totally agree with you! We lost out on a place in the final because of selection politics. (of course, its in our mindset to fail during crucial moments as well)

  • Shongololo on February 24, 2016, 22:55 GMT

    Metalhead69, totally agree. I have long argued that true transformation is needed and will be loudly applauded by most level-headed people. But, of course, it takes time, money and effort - and after almost 22 years in power, the government has shown a distinct inability to do so...perhaps no appetite as it takes hard work and it's far easier to demand, count number of faces in a team and pat yourselves on the back sating 'job well done'. What we need to do is give everyone who wishes to play this great game the opportunity to do just that, provide them with the coaches and the facilities, bursaries to those who show exceptional talent...and we will have the most powerful team in world cricket, with a very health spread of so-called players of colour, all there on merit. Surely that is what we all want? Time for politicians to admit they don't really care about development as they've shown scant regard for it for 22 years.

  • djdrastic on February 24, 2016, 21:04 GMT

    Haha averages 28 with the bat and 35 with the ball domestically and believes it is his birthright to belong on the international circuit. Absolutely delusional.

    Btw are CSA admitting in this article that if a non person of color was was caught in a drunken stupor there would have been a different course of action ?

  • Homer007 on February 24, 2016, 17:57 GMT

    For those comparing Miller and Zondo.... As someone said earlier, in the free market (for SA talent) that is the IPL, I don't see people queuing up to select Zondo.

    My take on this is similar to the early quota experiments in rugby.... (did someone say quota's for soccer ? not likely). In those days, some young black guy would get selected for a completely unimportant match against some minnow team, get selected for the bench and be pulled on with 10-20 mins to go. When the real games came along, he wasn't in the top 50. Fair? of course not, not fair on anyone.

    Zondo, who is a reasonable player, make no mistake, was probably selected for the touring team, knowing that he would not get into the frame, in so doing keeping others out (like Elgar) who in a "normal" situation would have been in the travelling squad. Of course, when injuries hit, the selectors went with what they knew. In this case it is rough on Khaya, but that's quota's for you.

  • JulianD on February 24, 2016, 16:22 GMT

    It's a difficult issue granted but transformation can only be accomplished starting at grass roots level. You cannot tinker with the national side which should only be selected on merit. At least if you move away from merit selection in any significant way then forget about SA remaining competitive, maintaining public interest and ultimately keeping sponsors on board.

    I understand the frustration of people like Zondo but those complaining about having no game time, should be asked one question. "Whose place do you think you should have taken? "

  • GermanPlayer on February 24, 2016, 14:47 GMT

    Quotas at domestic is understandable. But I will not accept quota in the national team till they acept that Philander's selection in the WC semifinal was political.

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