Cricket South Africa (CSA) has set official transformation targets for the Proteas that require the national squad to field an average minimum of 54 per cent and 18 per cent of Black players and Black African players respectively over the season.
The targets, which come into effect immediately, will be an average of the cumulative representation across all three formats in a season. The Board of Directors of CSA took the decision at its annual general meeting that ended here on Saturday.
“The very fact that there is a need to set certain targets indicates that the system has not been working optimally to achieve representivity,” said CSA President Chris Nenzani.
“We remain in dialogue with the Ministry and the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) in order to find common ground and address those areas where we need to improve. I am confident that our engagements will bear fruits.”
The issue of including more Black players has plagued CSA since it was formed 25 years ago to integrate separate racial unions in the apartheid era and ensure that the team was no longer all-white or dominated by white players.
But the forced inclusion of Black players in the past has led to a great deal of controversy, including outcries against alleged government intervention.
In more recent years, transformation programmes to include more Black players at lower levels of the game, including at schools, have borne some measure of success.
“This is a natural progression in Board’s determination to drive transformation aggressively as part of CSA’s policy to make cricket a truly national sport accessible to all. What is really encouraging is that the Proteas, who are our flag bearers, are already achieving these targets and in some cases exceeding the targets we have just set,” Nenzani added.
“The Test starting XI that played in the recent 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 per cent) in their most recent series against the West Indies and Australia.
“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.”
CSA also announced at its AGM a 107 million Rand surplus, 89 million Rand better than budget. “Contributing to this success was the effective running of the Operating Model that was introduced in June 2014, which resulted in all 14 members returning better than break-even financial results for the first time,” he said.