JOHANNESBURG – While Cricket South Africa (CSA) was locked in a meeting yesterday afternoon with Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa, once again it was left to a player to demonstrate the kind of maturity that’s been missing from CSA’s administration this year.
Speaking about the national men’s team’s “culture camp” in Skukuza last week, Lungi Ngidi highlighted the willingness of his Proteas teammates to hold uncomfortable conversations, while communicating openly with each other about social issues affecting each of them.
It’s a far cry from the sports administrators who, instead of open communication and dealing with a plethora of problems in a forthright manner, have instead sort to block critical reports and, in the case of one provincial president, Simphiwe Ndzundzu accuse another, Anne Vilas, of racism.
It’s become increasingly clear it will be left up to Mthethwa to step in to resolve the crisis afflicting Cricket SA’s administration and to ensure the forensic audit report – which is said to contain “20 strands of findings that are broad and far-reaching” – is used to weed rotten elements within the organisation.
In the meantime the current crop of Proteas players have sought to create a foundation from which they can produce a genuinely unified front, something that hasn’t been the case for most of the last three decades since South Africa’s return from sports isolation.
Ngidi said the forthright discussions at last week’s “culture camp”, attended by 32 members of CSA’s High Performance squad, coaches and team management, put those of his Proteas teammates in the know about race and social issues. “It was very uncomfortable in that moment obviously, but it was something that needed to be done,” Ngidi said about the conversations at the camp regarding race and transformation.
“A lot of guys shared their stories and how they felt from the different racial groups. You understand how people feel and with transformation, we also understand that it doesn’t come from the players, it comes from the system and that a lot of people needed to understand why it’s in place and having these conversations and helping people understand why certain things are the way that they are, I feel, put a lot more people in a position of understanding.
“We all know that you play for South Africa on merit and not because of the colour of your skin. I think the greatest thing was helping everyone understand why. I feel like sometimes people are scared or embarrassed to ask, so being able to speak out in that environment really cleared up a lot of grey areas for a lot of people.”
Ngidi, Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada headed to the United Arab Emirates last night to play in the Indian Premier League.