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…