Saca weighs in on CSA transformation fall-off

KAGISO Rabada will have to deal with the pressure of being the centre of conversation ahead of the World Cup. AFP

KAGISO Rabada will have to deal with the pressure of being the centre of conversation ahead of the World Cup. AFP

Published May 4, 2024


FOLLOWING the announcement of the Proteas T20 World Cup squad earlier this week, the transformation conversation has taken centre stage once again seeing that the squad has only one Black African player in Kagiso Rabada.

This comes decades after the implementation of development and transformation programmes to ensure that the Proteas field a team that is representative of the country’s demographics.

As one of the active parties in cricket in South Africa, the SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) has reiterated that they have always been in favour of transformation.

However, the players’ association has identified that the programmes and targets in place have proven not to yield the outcome the country is after, as the recently announced squad suggests.

“It goes without saying and it’s Saca’s position that the game needs to transform in South Africa for it to survive, let alone thrive. That’s always been Saca’s position,” said Saca CEO Andrew Breetzke.

“We’re in 2024 and Cricket South Africa have spent hundreds of millions of rands in the last two decades, and probably billions in development and transformation initiatives.

“It’s quite evident that it has not translated into a team that’s transformed or representative. That raises a number of questions around the ethics of transformation programmes over the last decade.

“That’s a really important conversation that we have to get into in South African cricket. We’ve had targets in domestic cricket now for nearly a decade.

“I think it also is evidence of the fact that merely having a target in itself does not result in transformation at the highest levels of the game.”

Breetzke mentioned that the dire financial position of the game in the country has played a hand in the national team not being as transformed as it was expected to be in 2024.

None of the three domestic competitions – the T20 Challenge, One-Day Cup and Four-Day Series – has a frontline sponsor and has not had one for a number of seasons.

Breetzke believes that all this has had an impact on transformation and development programmes.

“I also think we need to understand that South African cricket at the moment is under immense pressure. The vast majority of our provinces are under massive financial pressure,” Breetzke continued.

“It’s not as if we’re working in a system where there are resources to be able to implement new measures. That’s another area of concern that we need to look at if we are going to succeed in transforming the game. These are all related.

“The challenges we face domestically around the strength of the domestic game, investing in the domestic game where the sponsorships are just our consequence of the pressure of the whole game. All of that impacts even the development programmes and transformation.

“Internationally, cricket is under massive pressure in terms of the financial structure of the game and where the game is going. We’re no different to any other country; Australia, New Zealand and England are under pressure. The whole game of cricket is under flux.”