Cape Cobras CEO Nabeal Dean. Photo: Cindy Waxa/INLSA

CAPE TOWN – The Cape Cobras team that took the field for this week’s four-day clash against the Warriors at Newlands could potentially set in major changes to the South African cricket landscape.

Cricket South Africa’s transformation targets for its six domestic franchises requires each team to field six “Black” players, with a minimum of three Black Africans.

The Cobras exceeded the target by playing seven Black players, but are now under scrutiny from CSA due to the selection of only two Black African players, Thando Ntini and Tladi Bokako, instead of the stipulated three this week. Ntini is the son of legendary Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini.

The Cobras have confirmed to Independent Media that they submitted documentation to CSA prior to naming the final XI substantiating the reasons for their selection.

This has certainly raised a few eyebrows, particularly among the other five franchises around the country, who are all monitoring the situation closely in view of how they could possibly put together their own teams going forward. 

“We put forward what I believe was a fairly cogent argument to CSA and we dealt with them since Friday, having discussions with both their transformation executive and the acting director of cricket, Corrie van Zyl. They were fully aware of our reasons for the selection prior to us playing the game. We communicated and engaged with CSA and as far as we are concerned the matter was concluded,” Cobras chief executive Nabeal Dien said.

“We made the decision for both cricketing and transformation reasons. We are playing seven Black players as opposed to the required six. But if we had to play three Black Africans - then we would have had to leave out national players. Is that what CSA want? Because according to their rules we are not utilising quotas but targets, which by definition are not imposed on you.”

CSA’s head of communications Thamie Mthembu confirmed they had received a submission from the Cobras.

"CSA has noted the submission by Western Cape Cricket (Western Cape Cricket) in lieu of a request for a deviation from the administrative conditions. CSA will launch a further enquiry into this incident and will consider all the related and relevant information in order to arrive at a decision about the strength and the validity of the argument by WCC," Mthembu said.

The Cobras were faced with a selection dilemma this week after the return of the Proteas Test squad from India with captain and off-spinner Dane Piedt, left-arm spinner George Linde and top-order batsman Zubayr Hamza all available for selection. Opening bowler Vernon Philander was not considered.

Left-arm spinner Tsepo Ndwandwa and middle-order batsmen David Bedingham and Aviwe Mgijima were left out to accommodate the returning Proteas, while left-arm seamer Nandre Burger was ruled out due to an ankle injury. Seam bowler Tladi Bokako replaced Burger in the line-up.

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The most contentious retention, though, was Matthew Kleinveldt at the expense of Mgijima. Unfortunately for the latter, he has suffered a severe drop in form since being named Cobras Player of the Year in 2017-18.

Mgijima averaged 20.18 last season in first-class cricket, and has endured an equally poor start to this season with a top-score of just 39 to average 15.60 over the course of the past three matches.

In contrast, Kleinveldt struck a career-best 175 for the Cobras last week against the Dolphins in Pietermaritzburg and averaged 42.73, including three centuries for Western Province in CSA’s 3-Day Provincial competition last season.

Kleinveldt was currently on 70 not out at stumps on day 2 at Newlands as the Cobras moved to 154/4 in reply to the Warriors’ 350 all out. 

@ZaahierAdams

 

IOL Sport

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