Published on January 5th, 2017 | by Bhaskar Ganekar0
Is Racial Quota System Killing South African Cricket?
Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw accepted Kolpak deal with Hampshire and according to the deal; they have to give up their country’s commitment.
Kyle Abbott’s and Rilee Rossouw’s international cricket has been ended today after the second Test against Sri Lanka after the talks with Cricket South Africa failed to convince them from accepting a Kolpak deal with Hampshire. There is a big question arrived why suddenly those players took this decision to go for County club instead of their country.
Let’s go back in 50s when the entire world boycott South Africa from sports. Even International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1970, suspended South Africa due to their apartheid rules which restricts the team to play only against white nations (England, Australia, New Zealand) and also only allows white players to represent the team. The players like Graeme Pollock,Barry Richards, Mike Procter ended their career due to this. In 1991 after Independence, they were reinstated in International Cricket and South Africa back in cricket.
In September 2016, Cricket South Africa accepted transformation “targets” which means there will be reservation criteria to select playing XI for any international match. According to the quota system, there will be 5 white players and 6 colored players in which at least 2 players must be black African.
Kyle Abbott got chance in place of injured Dale Steyn on Australia tour. When Steyn will be back in the team, there is a slight chance of Abbott’s inclusion in playing XI due to this quota system. Even if black players’ did not perform well, their quota will remain same. Same will apply for DeVilliers when he joins the team, Cook or Elgar will sit out despite scoring runs and not Bavuma who is out of form. So when Styen and DeVilliers will fully fit, there will be no space for Abbott and Rossouw in the team, which is not good for South African cricket and not even for international cricket.
According to Kolpak deal, Hampshire offered more money to Abbott, so he decided to move to England. So many talents from South Africa have moved to other countries due to racial system, the recent one is Jennings who scored a hundred against India on his debut at Mumbai. Another example is Kevin Pietersen, who played for England more than 100 Tests. Pietersen left South Africa at teenage in protest at the racial quota system which he felt was unfortunately restricting his opportunity.
If this racial quota system continues in South African cricket, many talents will surely miss the opportunities which are dangerous for international cricket.