New cricket quota kicks in
CRICKET in South Africa is set to undergo a historic change today when cricket chiefs rubber-stamp a proposal that its six professional domestic teams field at least one black African player in their starting line-ups.
It is believed that franchises will also be rewarded financially if they field more than one black African player on a consistent basis.
The six professional teams are already bound to an agreement reached at a “transformation indaba” a decade ago where a “target” of four “players of colour” was set for all of South Africa’s six domestic franchise teams – the Cobras, the Titans, the Dolphins, the Lions, the Warriors and the Knights.
The initial proposal of two black African cricket players – made a few weeks ago after Cricket SA’s transformation indaba – is likely to be reduced to one player at today’s Cricket South Africa board meeting because squads have already been finalised for the new season, which starts today.
The new proposal is set to be implemented from the second round of One-Day Cup fixtures scheduled for October 16.
The South African domestic season gets under way today with the One-Day Cup clash between the Cape Cobras and the Titans at Centurion. There are two further fixtures scheduled for this weekend around the country, but the ruling relating specifically to black Africans will not be applicable for these matches.
“It is important for us as nation to have a black African playing Test cricket, so we as franchise coaches have to support and back talented black African cricketers at franchise level,” said Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana, the only black African franchise coach, who regularly fields two, and sometimes three, black Africans in his team.
Tony Irish, chairman of the SA Cricket Association (Saca), said transformation, and especially the proposal relating to black African cricketers, was high on Saca’s agenda at its annual general meeting held mid-week. “We are supportive of transformation within South African cricket,” Irish told the Cape Times.
“The main thing for us, though, is how it is implemented, whether it is immediate or progressive.
“Quota numbers are always a concern for us, and here I am talking about hard and fast numbers because it relates to selection, and selection affects all players, regardless of race.
“From experience, we know individual black African players will view it as an opportunity, while others will want to prove their sense of belonging.”
Meanwhile, CSA president Chris Nenzani is set to meet top Indian board officials in Mumbai today in a bid to break the deadlock over India’s tour to South Africa.