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Increased quotas for SA domestic cricket

Firdose Moonda

June 20, 2014

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Lonwabo Tsotsobe in his delivery stride, Lions v Rajasthan Royals, Group A, Champions League 2013, Jaipur, Sep 25, 2013
Lonwabo Tsotsobe is the only black African cricketer regularly in the national set-up © BCCI
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In an effort to quicken the rate of transformation in South African cricket, domestic teams will be subject to increased quotas from the 2014-15 season. CSA's board approved a new quota that will require franchises to field at least five players of colour, of which two must be black Africans. Provincial teams will have to have six players of colour in their XIs, including at least three black Africans.

For the last decade the six franchises were expected to name four players of colour in their starting XI and provincial teams had to have five, while the black African component is a relatively new aspect of the system. Shortly after the start of last summer, CSA introduced this target within a target, which was initially proposed as a two-black-Africans-per-franchise quota. CSA backtracked on that in October 2013, only to enforce it a season later.

"It is a fact that we have still not succeeded in unlocking the vast cricket talent among black African people and next season we will expect the affiliate and franchise presidents, CEOs and their coaches to assume direct responsibility to do so." Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive said.

The increased focus on black African players comes as South African cricket struggles to explain the shortage of players from the country's majority race group, to both its fans and government. Although the minister of sport Fikile Mbalula retracted a demand that all national teams must have 60% people of colour, he had specific meetings with five federations, of which cricket was one, to discuss transformation.

South Africa's Test team last fielded a black African player in January 2011, when Lonwabo Tsotsobe played against India. Tsotsobe remains the only regular black African player in the limited-overs teams, although he will miss next month's tour of Sri Lanka as he recovers from ankle surgery.

At lower-levels, South African cricket is more representative. The under-19 team that was victorious in February's World Cup was the most transformed team in South Africa's history. The squad of 15 included eight players of colour with four black Africans. The South Africa A team to tour Australia this year has nine players of colour in the 15-man four-day squad with five black Africans, and ten players of colour in the one-day squad with four black Africans.

Among the franchises, all teams managed to field at least four players of colour throughout the 2013-14 season, and three - Cobras, Lions and Dolphins - fielded five players of colour on average. Cobras and Warriors were the only two franchises whose black African contingent was one player, while Lions, Dolphins, Titans and Knights regularly fielded two black Africans. This suggests they should all be able to meet the new quota comfortably, though Cobras and Warriors may go shopping for black African talent elsewhere.

Other decisions taken at CSA's board meeting were to revamp the second-tier of domestic cricket - the provincial structure. As reported by ESPNcricinfo in May the number of first-class matches played by teams will decrease, with cost-cutting the focus in this level of the game, which is still without a sponsor. "It is critical for us to re-engineer ourselves to ensure future sustainability and growth, and in this process we will search for a new sponsorship to launch this competition in the coming season," Lorgat said.

One area that does not have that problem is women's cricket. Thanks to a deal with financial services company Momentum, the number of contracted players will increase from six to 14, which will mean South Africa has a fully professional women's squad for the first time.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Slevin7 on (June 24, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

CSA should do more in areas where their targeted players come from. To keep on insinuating that it is just selectors that do not want to pick these players borders on madness. There just aren't enough good players coming through. More needs to be done to increase that number. After all these years and with all the lip service, when are they going to get it right? It is CSA who should take responsibility for perpetually failing to develop these players. Sadly, I think taking responsibility is not a habit of theirs.

Posted by Skolla on (June 23, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

Most of the comments seem to be from cricket fans outside of SA - and the madness inherent in this system seems quite evident to them.

The reality remains that cricket is far from the number one sport for most black Africans, the talent pool except for pockets in the Eatern Cape (Lopsy, Makaya, Ngam) remains very small.

What will probably happen is that we will just see loads of Zimbabweans being picked, same as in the corporate world in SA where quotas are met by Zimbabweans.

Posted by Marktc on (June 23, 2014, 5:32 GMT)

Pushing people into teams based on race and not talent, dilutes the strength of the team. Provincial cricket needs to remain strong as this in turn strengthens the national team. CSA and the government needs to admit their mistakes by not promoting cricket talent at grassroots level some 20 years ago. This is where talent born and nurtured. Furthermore, players of colour need to know that they are chosen on merit and not to fill quotas.

Posted by   on (June 21, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

Damn bad move..S.A wil loose ANOTHER KEVIN PIETERSEN like Player..

Posted by   on (June 21, 2014, 1:26 GMT)

This is a terrible move by CSA, imo. I understand trying to encourage more black Africans to get involved in cricket, but if anything, this will only diminish the quality of domestic cricket in SA, as it'll result in more players being selected in the XI based on the colour of their skin instead of being selected on merit. That can never be a good thing.

Although as an Englishman, SA's loss has been our gain in the past, I hope that the next KP doesn't have to leave SA, or even worse decide to give up the game altogether, when they can't get into the side ahead of worse players who are only being selected because of a quota - Cricket can't afford to lose the next KP.

Posted by   on (June 20, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

as an England fan I'd like to thank whatever genius made this ruling

Posted by   on (June 20, 2014, 23:14 GMT)

I have never supported quotas of any kind for international representations because quotas would mean your best team is never playing.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (June 20, 2014, 19:59 GMT)

I was active in the struggle against apartheid. The one constant amongst all within the country whom opposed apartheid was the refusal to acknowledge the government mandated "population group" definitions. Population Group Definition underpinned the enactment & administration of apartheid, e.g the Group Areas Act.

Black,, white, colored, Indian, persons of colour, blankes, bantu, black africans, non-whites, etc - these immaterial distinctions are all birds of the same feather: Group Identification - the partitioning of people - enables any and all activities across the continuum between oppression & privilege.

As long as Group Identification is integral to the policies of SA's rulers, the colors of the Rainbow Nation will never merge.

Cricket needs no transformation. ONLY the disparity between wealth & poverty requires transformation. Sadly, 1 more Black African per cricket team is merely window dressing that will never enable economic empowerment of the dispossessed.

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (June 20, 2014, 19:20 GMT)

The franchises are already more or less within those quotas as it is. But it will certainly help CSA appease certain factions at the expense of alienating some less savvy fans.

Posted by   on (June 20, 2014, 18:39 GMT)

CSA should take the game and venues to the townships to make a real impact. Because, at moment not much top level games sre being played there.

Posted by D-Train on (June 20, 2014, 16:35 GMT)

There's ways to promote cricket amongst the black/coloured community in South Africa. This is not it. You need to work on the game at a grassroots level.

Posted by   on (June 20, 2014, 14:40 GMT)

I understand the move, but on the other side of the coin, this will mean that even more late blooming cricketers will move abroad to seek early international cricket. It is a no win situation. Let us hope that SA can find one Hashim Amla for every Kevin Pieterson.

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