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South Africa transformation targets could change after Cape Cobras case

Currently, transformation targets must be met in every match in domestic cricket - but the national team only needs to meet a season average

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
South Africa's national team only needs to meet a season-average for transformation targets, unlike domestic teams

South Africa's national team only needs to meet a season-average for transformation targets, unlike domestic teams  •  Associated Press

The South African domestic set-up could see a change in transformation targets in the aftermath of the Cobras' yet-to-be-investigated transgression two weeks ago.
CSA are yet to conclude an inquiry into why the Cape Town-based franchise fielded only two black Africans instead of the stipulated three in a four-day match against the Warriors at Newlands on Tuesday. ESPNcricinfo understands that the franchise has not received any communication from CSA about a possible probe. Further, it has also emerged that CSA had agreed to the Cobras' XI and that a bid for the franchises to use the same targets that apply to the national team, which are taken on average over a season, was mooted at the coaches' conference in May and was due to be considered by CSA's cricket committee before this season began.
Currently, transformation targets in South Africa apply at both domestic and national level. Domestic teams must field at least six players of colour, of which at least three must be black African, and this target must be met in every match. The national team must field at least six players of colour, including at least two black Africans on average over the course of a season. That means, at national level, if only two black African players are included in the XI in any match and four in another, the target is considered to have been met. The domestic franchise coaches are understood to have agreed on, and argued for, the same to apply to them, but they are unaware if their motion was taken up at higher levels.
Instead, the franchises have continued to meet the three-plus-three target, except in the final week of October when the Cobras opted not to. While they fielded seven players of colour in their team against the Warriors, only two were black African. The Cobras notified CSA in writing of their reasons, which were transformation, cricketing and semantics based. By including seven players of colour, the Cobras argued they were exceeding the target of six. They also said their combination best-suited the national agenda because it allowed them to play Zubayr Hamza, George Linde and Dane Piedt, who had all returned from the tour of India, two Malan brothers (Pieter and Janneman), Kyle Verreynne, Jason Smith and Dane Paterson, all considered national hopefuls, and Mathew Kleinveldt, who was fresh off a hundred the previous week. Lastly, the Cobras said the word target indicates a non-obligatory selection criteria, in contrast to the word quota. They claim to have had a response from CSA which indicated they could go ahead because they had made a "cogent argument."
If that is the case, South Africa's other five franchises, all of whom have treated the target as a quota, would also be able to successfully argue for discarding the black African subsection of the target and for the targets to be calculated on average over the season, instead of for every game. This is essentially what the coaches lobbied for six months ago and could change the landscape of the South African domestic scene.
CSA confirmed that they have not finalised the case. "CSA is busy with this matter and will issue a statement once this matter is finalised," Thamie Mthembu, A CSA spokesperson said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent