In an effort to accelerate the rate of transformation in South African cricket, an increased quotas will be subjected to the domestic teams from the 2014-15 season. CSA’s board gave approval to a new quota that will require franchises to field at least five players of colour, of which two of them must be black Africans. Provincial teams need to have six players of colour in their XIs, including at least three black Africans.
For the last decade the six franchises were told to name four players of colour in their starting XI and five for the provincial teams, while the black African component is introduced most recently into the system. Just after the start of last summer, CSA introduced this target within a target, in which it was initially proposed that two black Africans should be present per franchise, and that’s the quota. CSA moved back on that in October 2013 but it was only to enforce it a season later.
“It is due to the fact that we have still not succeeded in finding out the vast cricket talent among black African people, this quota is done and so in next season we will expect the affiliate and franchise presidents, CEOs and their coaches to assume direct responsibility to do so.” Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive said.
The increased focus on black African players comes as South African cricket as it falters to explain the shortage of players from the country’s majority race group, to both its fans and government. Due this CSA needed to take a step and so they increased the quota. Although the minister of sport Fikile Mbalula requested a demand that all national teams must have 60% people of the majority colour, he had specific meetings with five federations, of which cricket was one, to discuss this transformation.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe was the last African player to play for South Africa’s Test team in January 2011, when played against India. Tsotsobe remains the only regular black African player in the limited-overs teams, although he will miss next month’s tour of Sri Lanka due to his ankle surgery.
At lower-levels, South African cricket is more representative. The under-19 team that was victorious in February’s World Cup was the most transformed team in South Africa’s history. In that 15 member squad, it included eight players of colour with four black Africans. The South Africa A team which will take on Australia this year has nine players of colour in the 15-man four-day squad with as many as five black Africans, and also in one day squad there were ten players of colour of which four black Africans.
Among the franchises, all teams managed to fill the quota of at least four players of colour throughout the 2013-14 season, and three – Cobras, Lions and Dolphins – fielded five players of colour on average and that was good for the country majority race also. Cobras and Warriors were the only two franchises whose black African contingent was one player, while Lions, Dolphins, Titans and Knights regularly fielded two black Africans. This suggests they should all be able to meet the new quota comfortably, though Cobras and Warriors might go shopping for black African talent elsewhere.
Other decisions taken at CSA’s board meeting were to revamp the second-tier of domestic cricket – the provincial structure. As reported by ESPN cricinfo in May there will be a deduction of number of first-class matches played by teams, with cost-cutting the focus in this level of the game, which is still without a sponsor. “It is critical for us to re-engineer ourselves to ensure future sustainability and growth, and in this process we will in search for a new sponsorship to launch this competition in the coming season,” Lorgat said.
This kind of problem doesn’t arise in Women’s cricket. It’s a great deal with the financial services company Momentum, the number of contracted players will increase from six to fourteen, which will mean South Africa has a fully professional and well developed women’s squad for the first time.