Inclusivity in cricket must be genuine and sincere, says JP Duminy
CAPE TOWN - Former Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy believes education is at the heart of eradicating racism in cricket.
Duminy was speaking as a guest on the ICC’s Interviews Inside Out webinar which featured a full and frank discussion on diversity and racism in cricket with two-times West Indies Men’s T20 World Cup winning Daren Sammy, former England Women’s Cricket World Cup and T20 World Cup winner and broadcaster Isa Guha, former Australian all-rounder and leading coach Tom Moody, and former Pakistan player and broadcaster Bazid Khan.
“Can we at some point in our society actually acknowledge what ‘White Privilege’ actually means? For me, it is almost just having the benefit of the doubt by others. That’s purely of what it is: the benefit of doubt,” Duminy said.
“Can we get into a space from a South African point of view where inclusivity is genuine and it is sincere? For us to be a dominant space in a global context, we need to acknowledge it.
“I believe education of the game is the key. And here I want to speak about the emphasis of the spirit of the game. I am not just speaking from an international point of view, but right down to the U10s. How are we educating them about the spirit the game should be played in? If you think about education, you think of the head, but it’s about the heart.”
Duminy played 326 matches for South Africa across formats – 46 Tests, 199 ODIs and 81 T20Is – having made his international debut back in 2004. He played his maiden first-class match in 2001-02. He retired from all forms of cricket at the beginning of this year.
In a special episode of Interviews: Inside Out, we talk about how everyone can deal with racism in the sport.— ICC (@ICC) June 21, 2020
Make sure you watch this important discussion: https://t.co/tsGhUvjFMn
👉 @bazidkhan81 pic.twitter.com/6vs26iJXm9
Duminy’s entire career span coincided with Cricket SA's commitment to transformation since the turn of the millennium when provincial teams were mandated to field four Black players. It has since been increased to six in the current franchise era with a stipulation that at least three have to be Black African.
Since September 2016 the Proteas Men’s team have also needed to field a minimum average of six Black players, of which at least two must be black African, in their XI over the course of the season to meet transformation targets.
“The initial thinking regarding transformation is giving a certain demographic the opportunity,” Duminy said.
“For me, I don’t think we have identified and ironed out the perfect place for it. The reason I am saying that is that I am not yet sure whether that opportunity is at international and domestic cricket or whether its opportunity at your junior level.
“Where we come up short is the understanding of the word transformation. From a government point of view, we have looked at it from an external and how can we change the external. So, if you had to ask anyone in South Africa about transformation, then they would think it is possibly a person of colour in place of a white person.
“The reality for me, and possibly only in the last few years of my career, in truly understanding the responsibility and the impact you can make as a South African cricketer, is that transformation in its purest form is actually from the heart.
“It needs to be an internal thing that transforms into an external being. We can’t transform from outward-inward, it needs to be inward-outward transformation. Only once we truly understand and accept the background of our country and the struggles that we’ve had, and various people that have fought for the freedom of our country, then we can truly appreciate what transformation is,” Duminy added.
YOUTH DAY MESSAGE from the @JP21Foundation in partnership with @PPC_Africa and as a proud South African, we pay tribute to the lives of those who sacrificed so much for us all and recognise the role of the youth in the liberation of our country. #YouthDay pic.twitter.com/0kPUzKYnv1— JP Duminy (@jpduminy21) June 16, 2020
Duminy is the founder of the JP21 Foundation – an initiative that facilitates the game among the youth and attempts to improve the facilities in the Mitchells Plain and Strandfontein areas in Cape Town. Over 2 000 learners drawing from 38 primary schools participate in the programme on a weekly basis. Sixteen teachers have also completed their CSA Level 1 Coaches certification and 66 their KFC Mini-Cricket Orientation course.
“We have to look deeper into the challenges that we have ... it's much deeper in terms of infrastructure and facilities for the townships and disadvantaged communities,” he said.
“Transformation currently looks like its spots available for a certain demographic. For whatever reason, that already puts the team on the back foot because there is the potential to not be able to pick your best team. I am not saying that has always been the case, but there is the potential for it.
“It gives a Black African player the sense – even players of colour like myself – that you are not picked on merit. And that is degrading an experience for players of colour. We understand why it came into place, but we are trying to find the balance of inclusivity. We have a big opportunity here to use transformation in an internal way.”