The logistical challenges of fulfilling Cricket South Africa’s transformation requirements were vividly illustrated in Wednesday’s domestic T20 challenge semifinal between the Titans and Warriors.
Exactly four minutes before the scheduled toss, veteran opener Henry Davids injured his right meniscus (the back of his knee) during a warm-up.
There was absolutely no way the 37-year-old could’ve played.
In normal circumstances, it would just mean a reserve player would be promoted.
But not in this case.
CSA quota regulations stipulate that every franchise needs to field six players of colour in every match, of which three must be black African.
The problem for the Titans was that their two reserves for the match – Heinrich Klaasen and Shaun von Berg – are white.
Given the last gasp nature of Davids’ injury, there was simply no time to call up a non-white player outside of the match squad.
Titans team liaison Karen Smithies could be seen running onto the field with phone in hand for coach Mark Boucher to explain the situation.
It was later confirmed that franchise chief Jacques Faul had immediately been in contact with CSA and it seems unlikely that they’ll be punished.
Sanity prevailed and Klaasen was allowed to take Davids’ place.
However, the Titans will be required to submit formal correspondence explaining why they only had five non-white players in the team.
“We know we have strict regulations in this regard but we also make provision for incidents like these,” said a CSA spokesperson.
“What the Titans need to do is submit a medical certificate (detailing Davids’ injury) as well as a written report on the circumstances. This gets handed to Max Jordaan, CSA’s transformation manager, and the relevant committees review the incident.”
One can count on the Titans not taking that chance again in Saturday’s final against either the Cape Cobras or Dolphins…