CAPE TOWN – Transformation in cricket is a process that must continue until all South Africans are afforded “equal opportunities”.
That was the view of Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani following the conclusion of the organisation’s Transformation Indaba in the Pilanesburg this weekend.
The Proteas have improved drastically in terms of representation over the last few years, and along with the Bafana Bafana football team, is one of the leading lights when it comes to committing to transformation in South African sport.
CSA’s minimum target is 54 percent participation of players of colour across the season and formats of the Proteas, with an 18 percent figure for the participation of Black African players.
But Cricket SA have previously stated that they are keen to improve the “Africanisation” of cricket, where more black African players are provided with game time.
At the moment, only Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma are regulars in the Test side, with Lungi Ngidi also a central part of the squad, while the likes of Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Mangaliso Mosehle and Aaron Phangiso getting sporadic opportunities in limited-overs cricket.
It was initially hoped that the establishment of the T20 Global League will provided a much-needed boost in exposing players of colour, and in particular Black African players, to a high level of cricket, but the tournament was cancelled at the last minute due to a lack of a TV deal and other issues.
But Nenzani said in a statement on Sunday that CSA were able to have an “honest and robust assessment” of their achievements with regards to transformation since their last indaba in 2013, as well as pointing out areas that they need to improve upon.
“Transformation is not an event with a time limit; it is a process that must continue until we reach a stage where we can say that all our people have been afforded equal opportunities regardless of their social and economic circumstances,” he said.
“I have been impressed by the spirit of unity and stability that will enable us to take transformation on an ever upward journey. Transformation in society is a national imperative! It is a societal, constitutional, moral, ethical and sustainability issue.
“Let us not celebrate present-day achievements to the point where we forget that the road ahead is still very long.”
One of the major goals that Cricket SA are aspiring to is developing more Black African batsmen.
South Africa A team and Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo – who has played in three ODIs – is probably the next-best Black African batsman, but he also needs to improve his first-class average of 31.02 significantly to push for a Test berth.
“I believe we have come out of this weekend’s deliberations as an organisation united behind this strategic imperative of making our country an inclusive, winning nation on a non-racial basis,” Nenzani said.
“We adopted very good strategies at the previous indaba, and the focus from this weekend’s indaba has been on implementation.”
Following their sensational 3-1 series win over Australia, the Proteas’ next assignment is the tour to Sri Lanka in July, where they will play two Tests, five ODIs and a lone T20 international.