Connect with us

Cricket

SJN hearings – Michael Holding on South Africa’s quota system

Published

on


News

Former WI fast bowler cited the example of Makhaya Ntini and how even though he was a world-class player he is sometimes viewed as a statistic

The term “quota” is an unnecessary burden for players of colour to carry and they should instead be recognised for their abilities and excellence. That was Michael Holding‘s message to Cricket South Africa’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) commission, where he was invited as a special guest to close proceedings.
Holding, who authored the book Why we Kneel, How we Rise, has been outspoken on issues of race and inequality and called for a shift in mindsets about who is capable as South Africa’s seeks greater inclusion.

“The quota system – I have heard that used on so many occasions when referring to South African cricketers of colour, that they are only there because the regulations say they have to be there,” Holding said. “They are never given full credit for their abilities. That is something I have spoken to (former UCB managing director) Dr Ali Bacher about.

“I spoke to Ali Bacher about it in 2003 when I came to do [commentary in] the World Cup. I suggested then that is an unnecessary burden for players of colour in South Africa to carry. When you pick someone just because you think you have to have certain boxes ticked, whether they are good or not. They are carrying an extra burden because there will always be people who say they are only there because regulations say they have to be there.”

Despite his critique of the word ‘quota’, Holding understood why South Africa, a country where white minority rule ended just 27 years ago, needs targets to rectify the wrongs of its segregated past but hopes they will give way to organically demographic representation.

“I understand initially why that was done. South Africa wanted to see a team and society that represents all of South Africa. And people in South Africa are in a hurry to see that. I suspect that people think that if it is not regulated it will happen very, very slowly and they want to see it happen quicker. I hope that eventually it will not be necessary.”

He singled out Makhaya Ntini, the first black African player for South Africa and who has featured in Holding’s book, as carrying the quota label throughout his 11-year international career.

“That is a burden that Makhaya Ntini carried throughout his career,” Holding said. “He spoke about it when I spoke to him for the book and I think it is unfair. He was a fantastic cricketer, his record proves that, everybody knows that, and not just in the latter stages of his career. From the early stages of his career he proved his worth and that he belonged there but kept on carrying that burden of being pointed out as being there only because regulations said he should be there.”

Ntini finished his career with 390 Test wickets, the third-most for South Africa after Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock, but Holding said he was never considered a senior player in the national side and was often lonely. Last year, Ntini told on national television that he would run from the ground to the team hotel, and vice versa, to avoid being on the team bus, where no-one would sit next to him. Holding repeated and added to that story.

“That is something Makhaya Ntini explained to me. We all know he was extremely fit. We all know the stories of him running to the ground. A lot of people thought it was part of his training regime. When he spoke to me, he explained to me the reason that he ran to the ground and did not take the bus. Because when he went on the bus, he felt as though he did not belong because he was treated as though he did not belong.

“He would go for breakfast in the morning, he would sit at a table and his team-mates would come in and sit at another table and leave him by himself at his table. Other team-mates would come in and go and join their other team-mates and leave him at his table. He was trying to comfort himself by saying maybe they just have things they need to discuss among themselves. Later it grew on him that that was not really the reason. He was not considered one of them. He was not considered a full-fledged member of the team. I played cricket. I know about committees that are formed within teams, I know about senior members within teams. There were committees formed within the team, supposedly senior members of the team to discuss things, and he was never called to be a part of that committee. People who joined the team long after him automatically became senior because of the colour of their skin.

Although Ntini did not make a submission to the SJN, Holding hopes there are lessons to be learned from Ntini’s anecdotes.

“Makhaya Ntini suffered all that. I am thankful to him to bear it out and still be so successful. That shows the strength of character of the man. Hopefully people will recognise, even those who did things like that perhaps did not recognise the hurt and the harm they were doing and the attitude that they had wasn’t right, hopefully they will all learn and recognise their faults and their mistakes and they will be willing to learn and willing to change.”

“I don’t like the idea of scouts going out and handpicking people and taking them out of their comfort zone, somewhere else for them to try and develop. Go there and put the infrastructure in place.”

Michael Holding

While a shift in mindset is what has dominated discussions around South African cricket culture throughout the SJN, Holding also advocated for a shifting procedure, specifically the scholarship system which takes children out of disadvantaged areas and into elite schools. Ntini was one child, removed from Mdingi where he grew up and taken to Dale College, where he was forced to fit in despite not being able to speak English or having the same socio-economic background as his peers. Holding would prefer that growth happens in the areas where people are to avoid putting them in challenging situations and expecting them to prosper.

“What I would like to see is opportunities being equal and everyone being given an opportunity to develop,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of scouts going out and handpicking people and taking them out of their comfort zone, somewhere else for them to try and develop. I would like to see the development process start from where that person is from. Go there and put the infrastructure in place. If you are not as strong a person as Makhaya Ntini, if you don’t have that strength of character, I am absolutely sure he would have fallen by the wayside.

“When I talk to him and hear what he went through – going to a school where he could not speak the language – he had to be a strong person of character to go through all that. Not everyone can manage that. I would love to see opportunities given to everyone all over, and not to put them in a foreign environment and hope that they develop, because that is what you are doing. You are hoping.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Cricket

Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes

Published

on



Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins



Source link

Continue Reading

Cricket

Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year

Published

on


News

“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

“We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

“When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

“We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

“There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

“Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Cricket

The Ashes 2021-22 – Michael Vaughan stood down from BT Sport Ashes coverage after Azeem Rafiq allegations

Published

on


News

Channel to adopt a “hybrid” approach with Vaughan’s stints on Fox Sports to be overlaid

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, will not be heard by UK audiences during this winter’s Ashes in Australia, after BT Sport followed the BBC’s decision to remove him from their TV coverage of the series.

Vaughan, 47, was last week stood down from BBC Test Match Special’s coverage for “editorial” reasons, following allegations from Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, that he had said “there are too many of you lot” following the selection of four players of Asian heritage in a county fixture in 2009.

Vaughan, who denies the allegations, apologised last week in an interview on BBC Breakfast for the “hurt” caused to Rafiq during his time as a player at Yorkshire, and will still be involved in this winter’s Ashes coverage through his commentary role with Fox Sports, the Australian host broadcaster.

However, BT Sport – who are due to take the Fox Sports feed after choosing not to send a bespoke commentary team to Australia – announced on Tuesday that they will be taking a “hybrid” approach to their coverage, with Vaughan’s on-air stints to be overlaid with studio analysis.

“As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” the channel said in a statement. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.

“Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport’s values. We are still finalising plans but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary.”

Vaughan’s troubled build-up to the series continued on Tuesday, when he announced on Twitter that his arrival in Australia had been delayed by a week due to a positive Covid test. “[It] is frustrating,” he wrote. “But at least I’ll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days!”

However, his hopes of being retained by the BBC after the Ashes have received a boost, after the corporation confirmed that they had been in “regular contact” with Vaughan since his suspension, and had held “positive conversations with him in recent days”.

“Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael’s involvement in a story of such significance means it’s not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment,” the statement added. “We’re pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”

The BBC’s stance was criticised this week by his former England team-mate Monty Panesar, who wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph: “This feels deeply unethical — a classic case of someone being tried and convicted without any form of due process being undertaken.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending