Off The Field

South Africa slammed over ‘unacceptable’ World Cup squad with only one black African

Written by Vipin Darwade

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has faced criticism for not meeting its “transformational targets,” with only one black African, Kagiso Rabada, included in the T20 World Cup squad.

The provisional 15-man squad features six players of colour, including Rabada. CSA’s policy requires that over a season, six players of colour should be in the South African playing eleven, with at least two from the black African community. With Rabada being the sole black African in the squad, the national team is set to miss this target.

The other players of colour in the squad are Reeza Hendricks, Bjorn Fortuin, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Ottniel Baartman. Lungi Ngidi, another black African, is one of the travelling reserves but is not part of the main squad. ODI captain Temba Bavuma was also not picked for the World Cup, starting June 2 in the USA and the West Indies.

Former South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula questioned the composition of the squad, saying the decision to include only one black African does not represent all South Africans in the World Cup squad.

“Only one African player selected in the Proteas Team for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. This is definitely a reversal of the gains of transformation and does not reflect fair representation of all South Africans in the national cricket team,” Mbalula wrote on X.

Former CSA and ICC president Ray Mali expressed concerns, stating that the game is regressing in South Africa.

“I believe a lot has been achieved, but we have taken a step backward in terms of cricket – we are not progressing,” Mali told SABC Sport.

“I cannot understand why we can’t have a larger number of black players in the South African cricket team at this day and age – it is not acceptable. We have betrayed the people who asked us to negotiate unity for this country. Players are mentored and monitored from their early days to the top, so you know which players will represent South Africa.”

Mali also called for a a selection committee to return and spoke against one man picking the squad in a diverse country like South Africa.

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Vipin Darwade