Proteas reflect Rainbow nation
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