Johannesburg – Cricket SA has adopted an incentive-driven policy to accelerate the development of black players, chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Saturday.
“We will be aggressive in seeking out black African talent and providing an opportunity for those players to come through the system,” Lorgat said at CSA’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg.
“We are not talking about quotas or sanctions-driven policies. We are talking about incentives at franchise-level.”
With effect from Wednesday, all franchises that play more than one black player, for more than 70 percent of their matches, would be reimbursed the average contract cost of the two players.
Effectively, they would be reimbursed for only one player, but at an average cost of the two, in the likelihood they would be on different level contracts.
Franchises would be expected to have at least one black player in their starting line-ups, and the incentive for the additional player would stretch across all three formats – being four-day cricket, 50-over and 20-over cricket.
“We have made good progress but despite that, we were not satisfied. We felt we could do more and wanted to accelerate transformation even further and not just along colour lines but throughout the entire business.
“We honed in on the development of a lot more black African players as we have a population which is very talented and we have players whom we are still not accessing.”
Lorgat said CSA would be more flexible on player loan agreements between the franchises, to assist in providing more playing opportunities for black players.
He was unable to pinpoint where black players were getting lost in the system.
“It is quite a complex issue, which we have delved into, and Corrie van Zyl, together with researchers, have done an extensive study on it.
“The drop-off rate of black African players developing through the system was much higher than that of white players. So, if we had the same retention rate, we would have a lot more black African players.
“The reasons could be social – the need for them to go and work and not focus on cricket – or they simply came across blockages in the system, be it the coach, fellow players or even administrators,” he said.
Representation of black cricketers fell from 43 percent at provincial school level to only 14 percent at franchise level.
CSA would take a holistic approach and, in this regard, Sunfoil, the sponsors of domestic four-day cricket, had formed an education trust to provide bursaries and scholarships for players whom they believed would excel in both cricket and academic studies.
“We would look to fund them in terms of their progression as well as retention in the system,” Lorgat said.
Players would be monitored and measures would be introduced to ensure the spirit of the policy was applied.
“We’re talking about quality participation so we won’t recognise a number 11 batsman who doesn’t bowl and it would be everyone’s responsibility to look after wellbeing of players.
“We are encouraged by the change in mindsets of the players, coaches and administrators and they have all bought into the concept and the reasons why we needed to do it.”
It was essential to introduce a system that would benefit all those involved in the game, as well as nurturing new talent.
CSA vice-president Peter Cyster reassured South Africans the new system would not disadvantage any players.
“We need to provide opportunities for black African players to come through the system and excel at a higher level, without taking away the opportunity of all other cricket players who are currently playing this wonderful game of ours.” – Sapa