Graeme Pollock was a cricketing untouchable but his belief that South Africa will never again be a cricket force because of transformation is as ill-formed as it is inherently racist.
The comments, like Pollock’s batting, can’t be ignored.
Pollock the batsman was class; Pollock the spokesman for old South Africa is simply crass.
Pollock, in the aftermath of the Proteas Test defeat against England at Lords, was quoted in the media as saying political interference and quotas meant South Africans had to accept the Proteas would be a ‘middle of the road’ Test side because of racial transformation as the key component of selection.
Pollock even defended white opening batsman Heino Kuhn’s Test failures on transformation, saying that Kuhn was only picked because of his first class success in a South African competition structure that apparently is weak because of transformation.
READ: Pollock fears for South Africa's future
Apparently it’s never the white guy’s fault and Kuhn’s failures are excused because inferior black bowlers supposedly created the illusion he could bat.
Pollock didn’t seem as concerned about the state of the Proteas when the team beat Australia 5-0 in a ODI series in South Africa. There were just three white players in the 11, which if you do the math means there were eight players who weren’t white.
No South African team in the history of the game had ever beaten Australia 5-0 in a series. This black-dominated outfit, less than a year ago, created the right sort of history. This black-dominated Proteas outfit went on to win a Test series in Australia and up until the Lords Test defeat rarely lost a series in the last 24 months.
Kuhn was out of his depth at Lords and has looked equally limp at Trent Bridge. Ditto Duane Olivier at Trent Bridge. Where is transformation the issue?
Why can a white player fail and it never gets mentioned, but when the team fails it is always down to transformation? When the team wins you never hear a peep from the likes of Pollock or any of the South African white sporting giants who played in an apartheid era that promoted the virtues of only white players.
Pollock’s comments reinforced the South African sporting belief of the apartheid era that white is right.
It took one Test defeat for Pollock to blame transformation, but when the team was winning series after series in every format of the game there was no applause in the media from the likes of Pollock.
Pollock told a gathering in London that the 11 best players were never selected for the Proteas.
He is right: Kuhn and Olivier shouldn’t be playing in the second Test. He is wrong when he says it is because of transformation.
I’ve heard similar arguments year after year when it comes to the rugby failures of the Springboks. Transformation is blamed for ever Bok failure but when the team wins transformation is never mentioned.
Transformation was blamed for the Springboks’ 2015 Rugby World Cup defeat against Japan but the player who missed the tackle for Japan’s match-winning try was Jesse Kriel. There was never a media backlash about Kriel not being good enough defensively because of the colour of his skin.
There was never an issue made that 12 white players in the 15 was the reason the Boks lost. Nope, what we got was the predictable and cliché social media rant that politics was killing the Springboks.
Pollock and all those who believe transformation is the death of South African sport should be given a statistical history lesson of the Proteas and Springboks results over the last 100 years.
South Africa lost plenty and in embarrassing and humiliating fashion with a whites-only selection policy.
Pollock’s politics, unlike his batting, belongs in the past. His comments were a greater embarrassment than any national team defeat.
* Mark Keohane is the founder of Keo.co.za and a former Springbok Communications Manager
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.