Cricket South Africa has implemented changes in the national teams selection policy, following on from the chaos that ensued from the last few teams selections, culminating in Charl Langevelds international retirement.
The whole mess began with Norman Arendse deciding that the cricket team was too white and vetoing the selection of the team to tour Bangladesh. The team was given its stamp of approval by Gerald Majola behind Arendse’s back and the fiasco was to repeat itself over the coming months. During the tour of India the squad was announced for the long series against England, and this time Arendse got his way, with Langeveld selected and Nel dropped, bringing the squad into line with the transformation policy Arendse was determined to force through, to the harm of the game and the country.
The new selection policy has removed the veto rights of Arendse, ensuring there would not be any repeats of the last few months. What it has also done is take coach Arthur and captain Smith out of the selection panel. They will both be consulted but have no selection power. Smith will be responsible for decisions made on the field and not off it. Which is how it should be.
The removal of Arsendse’s veto power is a move in the right direction for the sport and the political interference within it. No one should be able to forcibly push their own agenda through.
Another aspect to come out of the discussion was the recommendation that a “black African” be part of the selection panel. So no longer is non white black but rather they have qualified the term as needing to be “black African.” This may be a step in the wrong direction. Firstly it suggests that white, Indian and coloured selectors may not be choosing black African players. This is not true and evening the suggestion takes us a step in the wrong direction. Secondly, while we all know that transformation is important, and that a representative team would be ideal, it must be done so naturally, and not forced. By qualifying black as being African it pushes coloured and Indian players down a notch on the transformation “rating.” Coloured and Indians also suffered under apartheid and should be equal to black Africans (and whites but in terms of transformation black should mean non white).
In the end the new selection policy is a case of one step forward and one step back. We are no nearer where we should be than we already were. But at least Arsendse does not have the veto and wont be playing with players careers anymore.