Troubles mount for Cricket SA as black Proteas unite

Allegations of racism in cricket have flooded the sport since Lungi Ngidi, seen here at the Solidarity Cup match in Centurion last month, stood up in support of Black Lives Matter. Picture: Gallo Images

“We are not here to break the system. It is already broken,” says a group of black former Proteas stars and elite coaches.

With a potential labour court battle already in store, in an ongoing tussle with former CEO Thabang Moroe, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board has more issues to face after a group calling themselves Cricket United 2020 demanded that they be consulted in any of the federation’s transformation policies.

Cricket United 2020, made up of 40 black former Proteas cricketers and senior coaches who held a meeting with the CSA board at the end of last month, released a statement insisting the governing body adhere to its agreement within the next seven days to properly engage with concerned black stakeholders.

“We are not here to break the system. It is already broken,” the group said.

“Subsequently, following the process outlined by that commitment by the president and board (in their meeting) we were alerted that the transformation policy had been signed off by the board without any consultation with relevant coaches, ex-players, current players and other roleplayers.”

The federation was apparently in no place to respond publicly to Cricket United 2020 on Thursday because the CSA board was embroiled in an all-day meeting to decide the fate of Moroe, who was suspended late last year.

The former CEO was supposed to present his case to the board, but he had instructed lawyers to prepare an indictment the night before to stop the meeting.

It nonetheless seemed likely that the board would dismiss Moroe, who could then take his case to the CCMA and ultimately labour court.

National director of cricket Graeme Smith, meanwhile, responded to allegations of racism made against him when he was Proteas captain from 2002/3 to 2013/14, after being accused of snubbing players of colour.

“I should emphasise that I was never in charge of selections,” Smith said.

“I had an opinion as the captain, but the casting vote was with the coach and the selectors.

“In the case of the 2012 tour to England, which Thami Tsolekile has alluded to, there was a whole panel of selectors. Thami was in the squad as reserve ‘keeper and this was communicated to him on both the England and Australia tours by (former Proteas coach) Gary Kirsten.

“It was international sport and there were some very tough decisions made. Decisions which I have been on the undesired side of myself… (and) it hurt, but I had to knuckle down and accept it.

“Over time, I have grown to understand that it was the right call for the team, and that has always been the crux of the decisions made in my time. They were the best for the team.”

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