Monday, March 30, 2015

Why South Africa will never win the Cricket World Cup

Dear Cricket Lovers,
            Below is what I wrote in 2011 at the time of the previous Cricket World Cup. It is just as true today, if not more so. We'll never win this Cup when the selectors have a Government sponsored millstone of prejudice around their necks forcing them to selected players on colour first and ability second.
PHILANDER

            The Times reported today that fast bowler Vernon Philander, a coloured was selected for the Proteas semi -final World Cup match against New Zealand ahead of Kyle Abbott, a white who had been the team's most consistent bowler in the matches leading up to this game which South Africa lost.

            This was done, the paper claimed, because the selectors felt that they had to add to Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir to ensure there were at least four players of colour in the team.
ABBOTT TAKES ANOTHER WICKET

            The really deplorable aspect was that Philander had missed a lot of the earlier games because of a hamstring injury and was not fully fit when he was picked for this, the Proteas' most important match. He managed to bowl eight overs for an expensive 52 runs without a wicket before his injury forced him to leave the field prematurely.
            Russell Domingo was the Proteas head coach, who is also coloured. His lack of confidence in his ability to produce a World Cup winning team was evident in the way he surrounded himself with almost a cricket team of specialist coaches and advisers. No other team at the tournament had as many.
           He said of Philander: "He is a hell of a good bowler and it's unfair to lay the blame on him or any other bowler."
            How right he was the people to blame were those who picked Philander.
RUSSELL DOMINGO

            The whole world was very vocal about the apartheid policy of discrimination against Blacks practised by the previous Whites only South African Government. But now that the Black African National Congress is in power and is advocating it the other way round in sports team selection nobody is saying a word.
            The policy was given a serious bloody nose when South African born Grant Elliott hit a six to clinch the win for his adopted country. A cricket refugee he left South Africa because he feared that as a white the quota system would prevent him from becoming an international.
            He really got his own back when he was also the Man of the Match with an unbeaten 84 for the Black Caps.
            Not content with the way South African cricket has already been hamstrung by this iniquitous policy the Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula is now threatening cricket and rugby (seen as essentially white sports) with all kinds punishments like "withdrawing national colours" if they don't meet transformation targets.

           Last year he blew his top and accused the mainly black national soccer team Bafana Bafana of being a "bunch of losers" when they were knocked out of the African Nations Cup at the group stage.
          Well Fikile my prediction is that you will have reason to say this a lot more often about our cricket and rugby players if you and your Government persists with this sports apartheid. And as nobody loves a loser we can expect sponsorship to drop and have these sports tumble down the world rankings, much like Bafana Bafana is in the habit of doing, until nobody really wants to watch them and all our stars are playing overseas.
           Regards,
           Jon

First Posted 21/01/2011

Dear International Cricket Council, 
          Have you ever tried playing cricket with one hand tied behind your back? Well that’s what the South African Proteas are expected to do.
          And what’s more they are supposed to go to Asia and win the World Cup with this rather debilitating handicap.
          Oh! by the way I’m not talking about the World Cup for paraplegics. This is for able bodied players. So you can appreciate that it is also giving the South Africans a major headache with so much riding on their performance back home.
          Their impediment that pretty well guarantees that they won’t be raising the winner’s trophy is so hush, hush that the South African media hardly ever mentions it.  But Stuart Hess made a passing reference to it in the Cape Times when he reported on our World Cup Squad.
          Out of the 15 players chosen he told us that there were six black players – one short of what is understood to be the agreed figure. He didn’t say who the agreement was with or how the selectors, headed by Andrew Hudson decided who is black and who is white.
          My sources tell me that the selectors were all issued with unique spectacles. They enabled them to tell who had enough coffee in their milk to be put in this special category where colour is more important than ability.
          I’m not saying that there aren’t players of colour in the team that don’t deserve their place. But if you have a system like this nobody will ever know how many more talented Whites were left out so as to make up the Black numbers.
          In South Africa’s new branding process you are considered Black when it comes to choosing the National cricket team if you are slightly brown of Indian origin; Coloured of black and white decent or completely Black from one of the indigenous tribes like the Zulus. If you happen to be any other colour you probably won’t be considered never mind how good you are because there’s no category for you.
          Here’s the team and I’ll leave you to guess their colour in the Comments section of this blog. Greame Smith (capt.), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Morne` Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robbie Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne` van Wyk.
          This colour coding applies essentially to the white dominated sports in South Africa. Nobody says a thing about mixing more colours in the virtually all Black National soccer team Bafana Bafana  which is ranked nowhere in the world. And who else would want to play for them anyway because they haven’t won anything of note for as long as even the most ardent fans can remember?
          Back to the cricket. The teams competing in this World Cup will be playing in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. How many of them are forced to included players who are not necessarily the best available just because they have the right coloured skin? Other than South Africa my bet is the answer is; None.
          So to even things up my proposal is that the Proteas should have 30 runs added to their score in every match to level the playing fields as it were.
          The countries where the games take place are a paradise for spin bowlers which is another factor counting against the South Africans. Brought up on hard, fast wickets more suited to quick bowling the Proteas haven’t got a spinner worth anything and most of their batsmen struggle again this kind of bowling.
          So even without having to play with one hand tied behind their back the team was probably onto a hiding to nothing. The only fair thing to do is to even the odds.
          I know this will invite some colourful headlines, but nothing in this life is ever just in Black and White.
          Yours truly
          Jon, an anthropologist of note.

P.S. Should a team chosen on apartheid lines be allowed in the World Cup just because South Africa now has a Black Government? In the old days the English team called off its tour to this         country because the all White Government refused to accept a team that included Basil D’Oliviera, who was coloured.

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