The Quota Question: Is Cricket SA fixing what’s not broken or making what’s working better?


By Sanjeev “Mahatma” Gupta

By now most of us must be aware that Cricket South Africa (CSA) has decreed that the national cricket team, The Proteas, should play a minimum of 54% black players and an average minimum of 18% black African players over the season. The targets will be calculated as an average of the cumulative representation across all three formats in a season.

 In a press statement, CSA President, Chris Nenzani, says the move aims “to make cricket a truly national sport accessible to all”.

“With the targets being measured over the full season and being cumulative across all three formats, our selectors and team management will have the flexibility to deal with varying circumstances.

“This shows very clearly that the targets are very attainable and sustainable and we will maintain the world-class standards that our players regularly produce,” says Nenzani.

On the other hand, the cricket boss praises the Proteas, who are the national flag bearers for achieving the prescribed targets and, in some cases, exceeding them.

 He mentions that the Test starting XI that played in the recent Test series against New Zealand contained six players of colour and two Black Africans and the ODI starting XI had as many as eight players of colour (73%) in their most recent series against the West Indies and Australia. In addition, the South Africa ‘A’ side had six players of colour and three Black Africans in the starting XI that beat the Australia National Performance Squad by nine wickets in the final match of their quadrangular series in Australia on Saturday.

 Given Nenzani’s plaudits what is baffling about the CSA’s decision on Protea’s quotas is the rationale for setting targets for an institution, which, ostensibly, is meeting them. Then, this raises the question: Is Cricket South Africa fixing what is broken or perfecting what’s working?

South African born but British raised, Sanjeev “Mahatma” Gupta contributes to Transform SA Online as a freelancer. He is based in Chatsworth, Kwazulu Natal.

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