CAPE TOWN – “We are not here to break the system, it is already broken.”
This is the message to Cricket South Africa (CSA) from the group of 40 black former players and coaches who continue to strive for anti-racism, non-racialism, equality and demand accountability and excellence from all involved within cricket.
Originally formulated in support of Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM), the group has broadened its motives and wants to continue to engage Cricket SA.
An initial meeting has already been held with Cricket SA which was chaired by President Chris Nenzani, but the group has since doubted its sincerity due to comments made in the media since.
The group, who identify themselves as “Concerned former SA cricketers and coaches”, were particularly taken aback with Nenzani’s “blatant admission” that qualified and deserving black coaches were overlooked in favour of appeasing a select group of individuals.
They further believe that “the continuation of the systematic discord that runs through CSA and its affiliates” has been highlighted by the fact that relevant coaches, ex players, current players and other role players were not consulted prior to signing off of the Transformation Policy.
Equally, the group expressed their dissatisfaction with recent comments from Cricket SA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith. They were particularly upset with terms used such as “disgruntled”, “witch-hunt” and “agendas” as it subconsciously attributed negative connotations to their stand and statements and painted them in a disparaging light.
Cricket SA have begun to put processes in place to address the concerns with the Transformation Committee of the Board developing a sustainable response strategy, under its Project: Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN).
The Proteas will also go head off on a “culture camp” in the coming weeks to unpack the issues raised recently, but former Proteas spinner and current Warriors coach Robin Peterson believes there is still plenty of hard work to be done for any meaningful results to be achieved.
“We have previously only peeled off a couple of layers in the formation of ‘Protea Fire’, but there are plenty more layers to peel if we are to create a truly indigenous culture unique to South African crickets,” Peterson said.
“We have so much to unpack and unfortunately it’s not always going to be comfortable conversations. We understand that the road ahead is not going to be an easy one. But like we always said in the Proteas dressing room, there is nothing that grows in a comfort zone and we all need to get out of our comfort zones.”