The South African national cricket team is set to face tougher transformation targets in the years to come, which could see the team being forced to field no more than four white players in an XI in the future. It is believed that by 2022/23, 63% of the team needs to comprise players of colour.
The Transformation policy in South African cricket is something that has elicited reactions, invoked discussions, stirred controversy and divided opinions, and that looks set to continue on the back of the national team being provided brand new targets to be met in the next three-year cycle. According to an ESPNCricinfo report, the South African national cricket team face extremely tough transformation targets, which could see the side be allowed to field no more than four white players in the starting XI by the start of the 2022/23 season.
Under the current regulations, the team is expected to field six players of colour - of which at least two need to be Black Africans - on average, throughout the course of a calendar year, but according to the new proposal, this figure could raise to seven, with there being a necessity to field at least three Black African players.
“While that accommodation will remain, in a presentation made to the country's sports minister, Nathi Mthethwa, the percentage of black African players required in the team is now 25% (up from 18% until the end of last season). Next season, 2021-22, the percentage increases to 27%, and in the 2022-23 season it sits at 33%. The number of players of colour required overall sits at 58% now and will increase to 63% by 2022-23,” read a report from ESPNCricinfo.
It is believed that the targets are self-set by Cricket South Africa (CSA). Mark Boucher, the head coach of the national team, spoke on the topic post his side’s loss in the 3rd T20I on Tuesday, and revealed that he was in a ‘transformation meeting’ in which the targets were clearly explained. Boucher, however, refused to confirm if the policy had already been implemented, and was only yet to be made public.
"The only thing I can say is that I was in a transformation meeting and we were given a whole outline of what the rules and regulations were and that's what we've got to abide by," Boucher, said after his team's defeat in the third T20I against England at Newlands.
"I don't know if that has been taken to the minister yet. It's difficult for me to answer that. I think someone above me needs to answer that. If you look at the three black Africans, they are very good cricket players. It's not up to me to answer this. I have got to select a team that I believe can do a job on the day and I do select that team along with Victor [Mpitsang] and Enoch [Nkwe]."
South Africa, however, only fielded five players of colour in each of the three T20Is against England, falling short of both the old and new targets.