Racial discrimination in South African cricket has now come into open when 30 former international players issued a statement on Tuesday that alleged racism as a factor in the game. The 30 cricketers signed the letter alleging racism and called for Cricket South Africa to come out strongly favouring the movement.
The 30 ‘black’ former cricketers included fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who played in 101 Test matches, and other former stars such as Vernon Philander, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Paul Adams, and JP Duminy. 5 coaches too were included in the statement which made the total number of signatories 36. The letter commended Lungi Ngidi, the current fast bowler from South Africa who has recently shown his support for the Black Lives Matter.
No current players were included
No current ‘black’ players such as Kagiso Rabada and Ngidi were included neither were any ‘white’ players. The statement included the criticism of Ngidi by the former players like Pat Symcox, Boeta Dippenaar, Rudi Steyn and Brian McMillan.
“We are not surprised at their comments. Given South Africa’s well-known past, black cricketers have borne the brunt of subtle and overt racist behaviour for many years, including from some colleagues,” Prince posted a Twitter thread claiming racial transformation has been resisted and “there had never been any unity” in the decade he played for South Africa.
Omphile Ramela, president of South African Cricketers’ Association sent a letter, written in his own capacity, to the sports minister of the country, Nathi Mthethwa, that sought government’s intervention for the illegal appointment of eight ‘white’ officials by CSA.
“In the last six months all eight new appointments within the executive management of cricket have all been white males,” wrote Ramela, a former franchise player. “Transformation is a legislated policy, it is a law in South Africa… they are breaking the law and must face the consequences.”
Recently, a campaign started on the social media challenging the appointment of Mark Boucher as the coach of the national team. Mark, the former Test wicket-keeper, was appointed by his former captain, CSA director Graeme Smith and this has created allegations of lack of due process as both of them are ‘white’ players.
It is yet to see whether CSA will come upfront after the 30 cricketers signed letter is disclosed. West Indies cricketers have previously come forward and opened up about the racial discrimination they have faced while playing. Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy was the first ones to raise their voice.