Proteas re­flect Rain­bow na­tion

Fiji Sun - - Sport -

Welling­ton: Ever since the end of apartheid in South Africa, de­bate has raged about whether the na­tion’s sport­ing teams are truly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the coun­try. The de­mo­graph­ics of the cur­rent test squad tour­ing Aus­tralia do not di­rectly mir­ror the de­mo­graph­ics of the 54 mil­lion peo­ple from its home­land.

But if ever a side has re­flected the ideals of the Rain­bow na­tion en­vis­aged by Nel­son Man­dela and Des­mond Tutu, it is the XI that steam­rolled Aus­tralia by 177 runs at the Waca. They are a di­verse mix of eth­nic groups, back­grounds, ages and re­li­gions. De­vout Mus­lim Hashim Amla con­tin­ues to feast on bowl­ing at­tacks while fast­ing dur­ing Ra­madan. Skip­per Faf du Plessis, who stud­ied at Afrikaanse Hoer Se­un­skool (Afrikaans Boys’ High School), is a man of faith who proudly de­scribes him­self as a “Je­sus fol­lower” on Twit­ter. Quota sys­tems are by na­ture di­vi­sive and will cre­ate ten­sion. It was no dif­fer­ent when Cricket South Africa (CSA) re­vealed in Septem­ber its for­mal “trans­for­ma­tion tar­gets” de­signed to help make cricket more in­clu­sive and ac­ces­si­ble for a dis­ad­van­taged black African ma­jor­ity. CSA de­creed the Proteas must field a min­i­mum av­er­age of six play­ers of colour, of which at least two must be black African. The num­bers were to be en­forced over the course of a sea­son, rather than an in­di­vid­ual match. This would help avoid the sort of sit­u­a­tion that even­tu­ated at last year’s World Cup, when spec­u­la­tion swirled that Ver­non Phi­lan­der played the semi­fi­nal to meet an in­for­mal quota re­quire­ment. It is early days for the pol­icy, which is also backed up by even more ag­gres­sive tar­gets at do­mes­tic level, but the first test showed pro­gres­sion and per­for­mance can go hand in hand. New Zealand Her­ald

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