Leading Edge: Who’s afraid of CSA?

Sunday Times


TELFORD VICE, Bangalore

CRICKET SA (CSA) say they “regard the issues raised (in a letter about black players being picked in squads significantly more often than they are in teams) as serious”.

But they also say it is “disappointing when a letter of this nature finds its way into the media because we do not solve such issues in the media”.

It seems they do not see the contradiction between those statements. Listen up, suits, and be educated on how the world works.

In a democracy the media are the public’s watchdog – the people who try and make sure dodgy bastards don’t behave badly.

Experience tells us CSA don’t like putting up with democracy.

They wriggled out of adopting the more sweeping of the Nicholson recommendations for restructuring a board who closed their eyes and hoped the bonus scandal would go away.

They have tried to cover up instances of ball-tampering by the national team by demanding the relevant footage not be broadcast.

They were economical with the truth about the extent of their interference in the selection of the SA team for the 2015 World Cup semi-final.

Journalists whose work CSA don’t like are reduced to second-class members of the press corps who are not afforded the decency of replies to their questions much less something so grand as a player interview.

And now CSA have been put on the spot by a group of players asking simple but powerful questions that are resonating loudly in a society ripe for holding authority to account.

Why was Aaron Phangiso the only member of SA’s squad – and the only black African member of the squad – not to get a game at the 2015 World Cup?

Why did Khaya Zondo not get a game in India when an injury to JP Duminy created the perfect vacancy for him in the last two one-day internationals?

There are only two possible answers. Either CSA are ashamed of their own transformation policy, or they think we believe them when they say they are intent on “aggressive transformation”.

Facts trump mission statement blathering every time, and this one of those times.

This is the coming home to roost of cricket’s transformation chickens. CSA have had more than 20 years to make the national team look more like the nation. Have they simply failed dismally, or do they think they can fool enough of the people enough of the time?

Don’t hold your breath expecting sincere answers to those last two questions.

That’s a personal view. But ask yourself why all of the authors of the letter – black African players to a man – have waited until they are no longer in the national selection mix before speaking out?

And why the black African players who are in the national selection mix are scrambling to distance themselves from the letter?

And why SA’s prominent players of other races have not supported a cause that will resonate with 79.2% of the people they say they play for?

Are all of these people afraid of CSA?

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