On the day that the Proteas lost the last T20 international by 9 wickets at Newlands and the series 3-0 to England, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that they would be increasing quotas in the national team from the 2022/23 season.
These quotas would allow a maximum of only four white players and a minimum of four black African players per match. Cricket is being bullied by the politicians and the cricket illiterate; this needs to end before it is too late. Already it is late in the day for South African cricket.
These quotas take no cognisance of any cricket fundamentals like form, injuries, balance, format, conditions and winning, and make no cricketing sense. Why has CSA become such a political organisation whose only objective is the politicization of the game and social engineering? The reason is that the decision-makers are not cricketing people, but quasi politicians, at best, who certainly do not understand or care for the game and its future.
During the T20 series against England, the quota system proved how ruthless it can be when Anrich Nortje, who was the fourth best bowler in the recent Indian Premier League, was left out of the team for the first match at Newlands. For the second match in Paarl, Reeza Hendricks had to bat out of position to accommodate the quota. The last match at Newlands saw the worst abuse by the quota system when Lutho Sipamla had to play because he is black. He is a promising young fast bowler, who had not played cricket for 9 months, but was thrown into the deep end against a powerful England team on a very good batting wicket. Not surprisingly he was destroyed, conceding 45 runs in 2.4 overs.
The way South African players’ careers are developed and managed because of policies, it is no surprise that the Proteas can no longer compete at home and away against teams like England, Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand. The Proteas find themselves at the same level as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and slipping.
The reason for this is that the domestic system has been weakened because of political decisions and social engineering. The system no longer produces quality cricketers who can play international cricket. The gap is simply too big between South Africa’s international and domestic cricket to ensure that the Proteas remain world-class through generational changes.
South Africa is a country that produces many world-class athletes for all codes, but because of the political environment and factionalism the country will never reach its full potential. Ironically, because of the administrators, South African sport could easily be destroyed in the years to come.
The policies and over-regulation of cricket in a professional era make the game unsustainable. Sport is about one thing only and that is winning. Without winning there will be no commercial deals, without commercial deals there will be no finances and without finances there will be no cricket. CSA needs to wake up and respect the international standards to promote the game and protect its values.
The real cricketing people need to stand up to ensure that cricket is not bullied and used by the politicians for their own selfish ends. The game of cricket needs to be taken back from politicians and returned to the hands of the cricket fraternity.