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CSA to appoint black African selector

Firdose Moonda

December 10, 2012

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A jubilant Makhaya Ntini after dismissing Ricky Ponting, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 1st day, February 26, 2009
Makhaya Ntini, the former South Africa fast bowler, is likely to be the frontrunner for the selection panel position © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Makhaya Ntini | Thami Tsolekile
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Cricket South Africa will soon - possibly as early as next year - appoint a black African selector in accordance with their transformation policy, in an attempt to better represent the country's demographics. South Africa's population is more than 80% black African but they are largely under-represented in cricket.

"We want to transform and reflect the demographic of our country as best as possible. A black African selector is needed to help address representation on all levels, which includes management," Jacques Faul, acting CSA chief executive told ESPNCricinfo.

He clarified that the move should not be seen as one which will push the case for black players only. "Just as white selectors don't only select white players, so would black selectors not only select black players," Faul said.

ESPNCricinfo understands that former fast bowler Makhaya Ntini is the frontrunner for the position, even after his criticism of the team make-up ahead of the Australia tour. Ntini was quoted saying reserve wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile would have played for the national team if he was white, but Tsolekile brushed off the remarks. Despite being nationally contracted in February and identified as the replacement to Mark Boucher, Tsolekile has not played a Test because AB de Villiers has been promoted to the role of the permanent keeper.

In Perth, South Africa played their 200th Test since readmission but in that time, only five black Africans have represented the country. Of those, Ntini played 101 Tests but the other four: Mfuneko Ngam, Monde Zondeki, Tsolekile and Lonwabo Tsotsobe have less than 20 between them and South Africa have not fielded a single black African in Test cricket in the past year.

It is a record CSA wants to change. "I don't think people realise what a big gap Ntini left when he retired from international cricket. He was a great role model and obvious choice for the Test team," Faul said. "It is important for us to improve on this statistic. We hope that in the next 200 Tests we will be able to do that."

CSA does not enforce a quota system but state in their policy they intend to make cricket a "truly national game." They fund an academy at the University of Fort Hare which Ngam runs, exclusively for black African cricketers to further that aim. Ntini was due to start an academy in the Mdantsane township in the Eastern Cape for the same purpose but has not been able to secure sufficient funding to get the project off the ground.

Failed endeavours like that are what CSA hopes to avoid in future. Their transformation policy thus "recognises the fact that, although now all South Africans are equal under the constitution, serious inequalities still exist in terms of creating opportunities and providing facilities and adequate coaching for cricketers of colour. The transformation charter carries the responsibility of capacity building in all communities and thus making cricket a truly national game."

Faul said CSA are encouraged by the "black African talent within the franchise system." Players such as batsman Khaya Zondo from the Dolphins Temba Bavuma, left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso from the Lions and wicketkeeper batsman Mangaliso Mosehle from the Titans are on the national radar, with Phangiso likely to be picked in the Twenty20 squad to play New Zealand.

The new selector will not be in place in time to pick those squads, though. South Africa are expected to name their T20 and Test squad for the New Zealand series on Thursday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Spelele on (December 12, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

The threshold should always be competence. If 2 players are competent to play for the Proteas and one is white and the other is black, then the black player should always be selected even if the white player is slightly better. This approach is an unfortunate consequence of apartheid and would at least solve things in the interim.

In the long term, SA should and will get rid of the above approach. But before that, some serious grassroots development needs to take place. The lack of black cricketers is not due to lack of interest in cricket amongst blacks as many here claim. It has everything to do with the socio-economic climate in SA at the moment which still favours whites. Until this is solved, the price to pay is going to be having a national team which is representative but not the best, or one which is unrepresentative but hypocritical.

Ntini is behind only Donald, Pollock and Steyn as one of our best bowlers since readmission, so those questioning his merits are clueless.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

SElectors change from time to time so lets have Ntini as a selector. I am sure he will select the team he thinks will do the best. He is not going to select a black player if he is not good enough because he as much as any one knows how bad it is for somebodies self esteem to owe his position to racism of any kind. There are many south african cricket supporters from all walks of life who think Toslikile should be keeping wicket for South Africa. The colour of the skin of Tsolikile or the people who think that or Ntini has no relevence. If you look at frachise cricket you see more and more class black players. The time will come when a black player is the best and he will get selected. At the moment few can claim objectively that they are good enough for a place in the National team. I am a massive Ntini supporter and am confident he will contribute as much as a selector as he did as a fast bowler and lightening never tiring outfielder.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 12, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

Just to be clear and please get your facts straight.

KP didnt leave SA because of racial decrimiation, however he likes to use this race card for justifying leaving SA. When he was playing in SA for the Dolphins he batted at 8 and was in the team as an off-spinner !!!!

Jonathan Trott, Craig Kieswetter, Compton, Dernbach, Claude Henderson, Tim Groenewald are and never will be good enough to play for SA, so fair enough that they decided to get a game for another country instead. They cant use the race card either because they were never good enough. These players were average players in Domestic cricket in SA, its playing County cricket in England that made them better players.

Posted by Jaggerr on (December 12, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

Ntini asked by the British Observer in Feb 2003 about politicians who claim racial discrimination in SA cricket: "I do not believe in mixing politics with sport and I do not see why people still see a problem today. We already all have the same opportunities. One thing I do not want is for us to be called affirmative action players. That's bad for black players and bad for South African cricket. I want to play first and foremost with good players, the best players, in a winning team."... seems Ntini has changed, and why does CSA not propose ways of keeping us at the the #1 spot, no they rather propose some quata selector policy

Posted by SATID on (December 12, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Good idea. Lets choose a selector that blamed race on being dropped. That said Thami is not keeping wicket because of his race...please tell me you can all see how this will end. Ntini as SA legend, great. Ntini as selector, will be worst cricketing decision in recent SA cricket history.

Posted by CheetosRule on (December 11, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

(2/2) Historically, Black athletes everywhere have overcome great odds to achieve success, which was earned through blood, sweat and great sacrifice. These achievements should not be diminished by a selection policy that is not based on rewarding talent and talent alone. In the long term, it will be a great disservice to Blacks if they are selected on any other basis other than merit. The notion of instituting affirmative action in a sports is a complex one. For instance, the olympic gold medal winning basketball team from USA did not demographically represent the country. Most of the players were Black; they were, indeed, the best players. Demographic representation is ideal, but not at the expense of talent and merit. SA should focus on the grassroots level and encourage Black kids to play the game by providing good coaching and facilities. The selection policy should be transparent and the selectors held accountable. But at the end of the day - regardless of race - select you best!

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

I loved Ntini as a cricketer. His aggression, athleticism and persistence were unmatched, and I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved. However, I don't think he is suited to the selector role at this stage. I see him more in the Allan Donald mould, mentoring and scouting for young up-and coming fast bowlers to one day play for the Proteas. I'm worried that CSA is trying to fast-tract transformation in a haphazard way which will have dire consequences for cricket in this country. The reason why cricket is still popular is because of the strength of the national team. Makhaya Ntini earned his place in the national setup and the next black African cricketer needs to do the same. Ntini should be put in a role where he can identify young black fast bowlers and develop them because that's where Ntini's expertise are most required.

Posted by CheetosRule on (December 11, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

First of all, with regard to the plight of the Blacks in South Africa, there are far more important things of greater concern than Cricket such as access to quality education, jobs, upward social mobility, etc. Cricket is somewhat important because it provides the optics for cultural and societal transformation. Many great sporting moments such as Jesse Owens winning gold in Berlin, Jackie Robinson playing major league baseball, Ali taking a stand against the Vietnam war, Tiger winning at Augusta National, are all moments that transcended cultural and historic barriers, and inspired people to action and paved the way towards shattering bigotry and prejudice. Of course, a lot more work needs to be done and South Africa has an unique opportunity to show the world the way forward. But with this great opportunity comes great responsibility. South Africa would do a great disservice to black athletes all over the world if it is perceived to give opportunities purely on the basis of race. 1/2

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

It is so sad to see that race is still an issue in South Africa. Personally I do not see how anyone can get a position sporting or administration that they do not deserve. It is an insult to choose someone on colour and to exclude someone on color. It is the responsibility of the government to make sure that players of all colour come through and that the representation in sport is fair. Unfortunately the current government is a total failure thus we are left with making token appointments. - in no way am I saying that Ntini does not deserve the position, all I am doing is pointing out how sad it is that we still refer to race and quotas.

Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (December 11, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

@ Posted by Hendrik G Botha on (December 11 2012, 08:07 AM GMT)

Yes Hendrik, i do agree that appointing him may not be the best thing to do. It is a gamble i think. But you cannot question his test credentials: 390 scalps at 28.82 and 4 10-fors (including Lords) is perhaps not great, but it is definitely something to be proud of... Morkel would do well to replicate/improve upon these figures.

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