The transformation of cricket is on track - Times LIVE
Thu May 25 20:04:46 SAST 2017

The transformation of cricket is on track

Alviro Petersen | 2016-02-18 00:26:11.0

After the Newlands Test, in which Temba Bavuma became the first black African to score a Test century for South Africa, Hashim Amla remarked that he knew exactly how Bavuma must have felt.

Amla said that when he first came into the Proteas side, it was as if he had to prove himself twofold.

The talk within some parts of South African cricket is that if you are a black player, you are selected for a team because of your skin tone. However, the reality is that players of colour have to work doubly as hard as their white counterparts. It's drivel that players of colour are there for a free ride. You have to back players in order for them to perform and once they feel that they have your full support, they will give their everything and run through a wall for you. Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada are prime case studies.

Bavuma is a hard worker and has the numbers behind him, while Rabada possesses the pace and everything a professional cricketer should have in his kitbag. When I first saw him breaking through at the Highveld Lions in his late teens, I knew he would be something special.

While we are obliged to play only three black African players in the Momentum One Day Cup, at the Lions we have regularly picked Bavuma, Pumelela Matshikwe, Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie.

Our franchises knew that they had to come to the party in terms of transformation.

We, the Lions, have arguably proved the best transformation success story owing to the fact that Geoffrey Toyana is our head coach.

He has an inherent understanding of what players of colour go through to reach the top echelon of the game.

Some players have said that the quota system prevented them from furthering their careers in South Africa, when in truth they were not good enough. Kevin Pietersen claimed that racial quotas forced him to head to the UK. However, the Pietersen example means nothing. When playing for Natal, Pietersen competed for a place as a lower-order batsman and an off-spin bowler. Back then, Gulam Bodi outbowled him. A few people portray transformation in a negative light to advance their own agendas.

I realise that it's their way of feeling relevant and in order to mask their own imperfections.

In certain circles, there is obviously opposition to Cricket SA's transformation policy at domestic level but I believe CSA is doing the right thing in enforcing the rules.

The fact that there are so many black African players that are stars on the domestic scene proves transformation is working.

However, to create a sustainable model, players of colour must be rewarded for domestic form and afforded international opportunities. Mangaliso Mosehle played a fantastic innings for the Titans in the Ram Slam T20 final but curiously hasn't been spoken of as a potential international.

The South African media have a role to play in making sure that fans and followers of cricket know who the players of colour are because they deserve to be there, based upon their skill.

Above all, I believe that we need to change our mindset and send a positive message to the world.


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