As this season’s domestic T20 competition rapidly reaches its business end, black franchise cricketers continue to struggle to make an impact.
That is evident when the batting and bowling averages of the respective franchises in this campaign are examined.
At face value, numerous sides seem to stick to a core group of black players, which suggests coaches are favouring the quality of an opportunity instead of haphazardly giving as many players as possible merely a game or two.
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) transformation regulations state franchises must pick six players of colour for every match, of which three must be ethnic black.
The Titans, Cape Cobras and Dolphins have only used four black players in their entire campaigns, with at least three playing in the majority of the matches.
Geoff Toyana’s Highveld Lions (six) and Malibongwe Maketa’s Warriors (five) have used more but these two sides have traditionally been the ones who try not to stick to the prescribed minimum.
The Knights have also used six players this season but only Tumelo Bodibe – who has only scored 45 runs in six innings – has played more than five matches.
The success stories:
Malusi Siboto (Titans, 9 wickets at strike rate of 7.77); Junior Dala (Titans, 8 wickets at strike rate of 16.6); Lungi Ngidi (Titans, 6 wickets at economy rate of 7.77); Magaliso Mosehle (Lions, 210 runs at strike rate of 151); Eddie Leie (Lions, 7 wickets at strike rate of 18); Sisanda Magala (Warriors, 9 wickets at strike rate of 17, economy of 7.09)
This suggests the central franchise doesn’t trust the majority of its black players with an extended opportunity, though Luthando Mnyanda might feature more regularly after a sprightly 25 in last weekend’s defeat to the Lions.
A thing of particular concern in this season’s tournament has been how quite a few established black players have performed poorly.
Aaron Phangiso, the Lions’ captain and Proteas limited overs spinner, has taken a single wicket in seven matches.
At the Dolphins, Khaya Zondo (106 runs in 7 innings) and Mthokozisi Shezi (3 wickets in 8 matches) have not made the desired impact as senior players.
That said, the Durbanites have been unlucky to lose the promising Protea all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo for basically the whole campaign.
He suffered a groin injury after taking 2/3 in his only two overs of the campaign.
The players who’ve struggled:
Mthokozisi Shezi (Dolphins, 3 wickets in 8 matches, economy rate of 8.82); Letolo Sesele (Knights, 23 runs at an average of 5.75); Aaron Phangiso (Lions, 1 wicket in 7 matches at 168); Lwandiswa Zuma (1 wicket in 4 matches, economy rate of 8.18).
Others such as the Cobras’ Aviwe Mgijima are victims of poor management.
The 28-year-old has played seven matches but only batted twice and bowled two overs.
It’s difficult not to think he’s merely there to make up the numbers.
Two batters, Letolo Sesele (Knights, 23 runs in 4 games) and Somila Seyibokwe (Warriors, 81 runs in 6 games), though simply don’t look ready for the demands of franchise cricket.