TELFORD VICE, Bulawayo
SOUTH Africans who discovered unexpectedly that race quotas would be part of the selectorial equation at national level are in interesting company – the SA Cricketers’ Association (SACA) were also in the dark.
Cricket SA (CSA) said on Tuesday they would “introduce targets for all the national teams” without stipulating the required racial breakdown. Currently, the stated number of players of colour the selectors aim to include in the XI is four.
SACA, the players’ official representatives at an administrative level, might have expected to be privy to plans to revise that policy.
But Tony Irish, SACA’s chief executive, said that had not happened: “The announcement was a bit of a surprise as we weren’t aware that the issue was being discussed by the CSA board.”
CSA president Chris Nenzani did not respond when he was asked why SACA were not consulted.
The move could be an attempt by CSA to achieve the racial representivity they have agreed to in a memorandum of understanding signed with the sports ministry, the details of which have not been made public.
However, sports minister Fikile Mbalula has called for 60% of players in all national teams to be of colour.
CSA’s failure, by 5%, to meet that quota has resulted in Mbalula stopping them from bidding to host major tournaments.
Mbalula is empowered to put further pressure on CSA, including stopping their teams from playing international cricket.
Asked whether SACA were concerned that CSA’s decision would prompt the retirement of white players, Irish did not answer.
But he was satisfied with CSA’s intention, as expressed by Nenzani on Tuesday to “achieve our targets over the course of the year and not on a match-by-match basis”.
Irish said that approach was “a more sustainable way of dealing with it in the national team”.