The price of being on top?

January 10, 2013 in Cricket

Jake White had it when he turned the Springboks into the number one team in the World. Over his 4 year stint, there was always this blemish on his record, according to some.  Peter de Villiers didn’t come off unscathed either.  Even though the Springboks dropped in the rankings, the fact that they were in the spotlight since White’s era, made it impossible for Divvy to escape the scathing criticism.  Meyer has also come under the whip during his short stint sofar for the very same reason.

Not selected enough black players.

All the time, I was wondering, the Proteas is probably doing something right, because no one is complaining about them…and why should anyone in any event, as with Alviro Petersen, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Hashim Amla, Rory Kleinveldt now regulars in the side, they are doing pretty decent work in transforming the national test cricket side.

According to Sport24,  however, Hudson and co came under the whip for their lack of transforming the National side by the CSA Board.  Not enough black players, they say.  Basson said: “The target at the moment is four blacks for franchise and national teams…” They also stated that they will be looking at increasing the quota for black africans to be included…




Now, let’s quickly do a count, shall we?

Proteas Test Squad

Name Race Age Test caps Batting/Bowling Average
Graeme Smith White 31 106 49.25 Bat
Hashim Amla Indian 29 66 50.83 bat
AB de Villiers (wk) White 28 81 49.26 bat
F du Plessis White 28 3 102.66 bat
D Elgar White 25 2 7 bat
JH Kallis White 37 159 56.94 bat
R Kleinveldt Coloured 29 2 60.75 (Bowl)
R McLaren White 29 1 (33 Not out) 43 Bowling
M Morkel White 28 46 29.86 (Bowl)
Alviro Petersen Coloured 32 20 42.65 Bat
R Peterson Coloured 33 8 33.8 Bowl
V Philander Coloured 27 13 17.4 Bowl
J Rudolph White 31 48 35.43 Bat
D Steyn White 29 61 23.68 Bowl


Among the 14 Test players, there are 5 non whites, and 9 whites.

According to the CSA, there is too few blacks.  Now, I don’t know if black means non-white, or does Historically Disadvantage, or does it mean Black as in, Swazi, Zulu, Shangaan, Xhosa, Pedi etc. In other words, Indians, Coloureds, Portuguese and Chinese are excluded?

Now if you would select a test day squad from the above, the first names you would write down would be quite obvious:

Smith, Amla, Kallis, AB, Faf, Steyn, Morkel, Philander, A Peterson and R Petersen.  10 Names immediately purely based on the immense class these players have demonstrated.  Alviro is starting to settle into the squad nicely. R Petersen, you need a spinner.

Now, we have to transform this side and the question is, who do we drop? And who do we choose? There is place for one more, since Dean Elgar hasn’t impressed after his 2 tests and Jacques Rudolph has not been performing to his standard since he re-joined the Proteas. (Just by the way, Jacques Kallis scored only 8 runs total in his first two tests at an average of 4. It wasn’t until his 6th test that he scored some proper runs. So do you drop a talent after just 2 tests?)

So who get’s the 11th berth?  It seems that this whole storm is about Thami Tsolekile, who got a CSA contract, but never got to play since.  Thami did play some tests before though. Back in November and December 2004 he played 2 tests against India and 1 test against England. He scored 47 runs in total for an average of 9.4.  Thami is currently 32 years old, and has 3 Test Caps behind his name.  His First Class batting average is 29.53 and for the current Sunfoil series his batting average is 40.57.  Oh, and he is ranked 18th overall.


Does he deserve the call up then? Firdose Moonda stated that it’s a Fact the Tsolekile deserves a chance. I don’t know where she found that “fact” but if your batting average in the domestic series is only the 18th best, surely there are 17 other more deserving players to consider based on form? Based on FACT, is he the best available player to be selected? No.  Based on fact, is he a prospect for the future to be blooded into the side? At age 32, I think not.

If the player to replace Elgar in the squad simply has to be a player of colour, a non-white, what are we saying to our young up and coming white players who are performing far better than Tsolekile? “Sorry, you are white, no place for you. Go join Kevin Peterson, Andrew Strauss and Kieswetter overseas. Maybe you can destroy your country of birth in a few years time playing for the colonialists.”

What then about Cody Chetty, currently 21 years old with a domestic average of over 46 this season? “Sorry, you are not black enough and you are not a prospect for the future”. Even Jacques Rudolph’s average at domestic level is better than Thami’s at 66.2, more than 50% better than Thami’s…

Ok, but let;’s say now that Thami is selected in that last berth, because he is the black batsmen they can find.

Does that now mean that with 5 of the 11 players now being players of colour, that the team is now transformed? Or do we need even more black players? Who do we drop? AB? Faf? Steyn? Morkel? Kallis? Smith? And who do we replace them with? Will Thami be happy to be in the squad purely because of the colour of his skin? Will he be happy to be referred to as a quota player?

Is it then so inconceivable to think that if CSA now places race ahead of merit, that the Proteas will lose their number 1 ranking within the next season, and perhaps drop to last? Because our bestest blackest batsmen is only 18th best in the current domestic season, which excludes most Proteas in any event..  It is not brain surgery to speculate how it will turn out when you drop 5 players each ranked in the top 10 in the world from the side. How else do we make place for more black players?

We heard not much about these racial ramblings when the Proteas were ranked 3rd, struggling a bit here or there, getting destroyed in the ODI’s, T20’s and so on. But now suddenly, one average black player who got a contract wasn’t selected, and suddenly there is no transformation in cricket, despite 5 non-whites being in the side already.

I guess that’s the price the Proteas have to pay for getting to the top. Leave it to CSA to drag them down, not Australia, England, or India…



18 responses to The price of being on top?

  1. The funniest thing about all of this is that soccer is said to be a “black” sport but it is from Europe. Most young “Black” kids that play “their” game is looks up to White Europeans, for example Messi, Ronaldo etc etc.

    I havent heard a young kid saying he wants to become Tshabalala or Mphela.

  2. Jou artikel is Naar. Maar Waar.

  3. I am flabbergasted: Zuma said walking with your dog and straightening your hair is a white man’s thing and part of this country’s colonial heritage.

    He goes on and asks black folk not to promote this heritage by refraining to walk their dogs and straightening their hair.

    Cricket originated in England and is as colonial as can be.

    So, based on Zuma’s views, black folks should refrain to uphold the legacy of the imperialists by playing cricket – it is as white as it gets.

    Maybe somebody should tell Zuma where cricket comes from and maybe then he will categorise it as a non-black thing and urge Cricket South Africa to drop quotas for cricket as it threatens the black cultures.

    • Soccer is also from Europe. Most “black” people idolizes Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta etc.

      How many black guys do you see walking around with Real Madrid, Barcelona or Premier league shirts on as well?

  4. 1. Why did Basson not decline his appointment as acting president being white or is it because he felt he was picked on merit
    2. Transformation is good – but nobody has a timeline or a set goal we cant in 20 years time still be talking about this, if the target is 4 non white players is it by the end of the month, year stop talking and start doing it
    3. Someday hopefully under that Race column it would just say “South African” the sooner the better

    Good post

  5. What about Soccer? Where are the whities? Last time they won something, Neil Tovey was Captain, then they sacked him, then no more winning!
    What about having 4 whities in the Bafana team!

  6. I think our Politicians got it wrong….ok they always do. My say on the matter is this:
    1 You cannot expect a team to be based on Color and still be the best test team in the world. You need a team that has Merit.
    2 Yes, Coloreds and Blacks was disadvantaged, so we need to look at the Grass root levels.
    3 Even if there is only 1 or 2 players of color then I don’t care, heck I don’t care if there is one…all I want as a fan is for the team to be the best they can be.

  7. I’m black and love sports in general but I think players should be chosen on merit and if they were to intro qota it should be in franchise cricket,Qamane is xhosa not Zim born and is a batting all-rounder but still wet around the ears, the only black batsman thats showing promise for test’s is Bavuma but should only be ready in a few years time.

    • Mosehle (don’t know if my spelling is correct), from the Titans is not a bad candidate as well and he is a keeper.

      I think Bavuma is a keeper too.

  8. Who is that new black dude bowling for the Warriors that took loads of wickets in his first two matches? Zimbabwian sounding name. Looks like a prospect for the future. Or, does it only count for black if born in SA?

    • Ayabulela Gqamane. He is SA born and I have to say his FIrst Class Average is very good at 17.63. He is 23 years and if anyone deserves a look into its him. BUt then again, who do you drop? Steyn, Morkel or Philander (when fit) or Kleinveldt (if not),who is also an all rounder? I guess there is an argument for them dropping KLeinveldt, but then there are just as many whites still in the squad.

      • You guys forget about the next in line guys too. a guy like Marchant De Lange is international quality and he is still 22 so if it happens that we decide that we’re going to do our development at international level he is going to leave. In 4 years time he will be 26. That leaves him another good 10years of playing for england.

        Then there is a guy like Chris Morris who averages 27 (best figures of 8/44) with the ball and 38 (best score of 154) with the bat at domestic level. He is the ideal candidate to be our all rounder if King Kallis retires.

        Then I haven’t even mentioned Hardus Viljoen. But yes this Gqamane fellow looks good for now. It is his first season so we have to see if he will be able to follow it up next season when the batsmen have figured him out.

        The biggest problem are that the politicians are not ex cricketers they don’t have a clue what it takes to be number one.

  9. In my opinion, its purely racist what CSA are trying to do. Now colourds aren’t good enough for them, they have to be BLACK.

    Why do SA sport bosses always have to be like this? Is it not good enough for them that we are the No 1 test team in the world, and not far off it in the other formats? Is the colour make-up of the team more important than results? If so they should be more than happy with bafana bafana. No problem there hey…

    • They have to please the politicians, so they sell out to line their pockets instead of doing what’s right.

  10. Mark not March, March is a month

  11. Top post uysh, hearing stuff like this makes me extremely fearful and nervous, we have built a brilliant squad who is on top of the world at the moment and now we want to break it down, these okes at CSA need to get their priorities right. I remember during the Adelaide test Firdose Moonda and March Boucher were having a twitter war about the same issue. Not sure though if CSA are talking about the long term future or the immediate transformation, cause as you said, surely you can’t drop white players just cause they white?

    • If they focus at the grassroots levels, the guys will come through. Everyone needs to just remember that, yes, blacks/coloured etc has been disadvantaged in the past, but they don’t suddenly become international quality over night. If they allow things to progress naturally, giving the guys the necessary exposure from grass roots level, to provincial level, the quality will come through. Kallis, Smith, Alviro and RObbie aren’t far off from retirement. RIght now if they get dropped, we do not have black players to replace them. White one’s yes, but even them we do not see coming through to the national side. How many white players debut’d for the Proteas test side in the last 4 years? How many non-whites did…