CSA: Black players, or else...
Andrew Hudson (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson had to explain himself to the board of Cricket South Africa (CSA) here on Wednesday and left with a clearer understanding of his transformation duties, according to acting president Willie Basson.
Hudson and his fellow selectors had been criticised for their handling of wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile, who was given a national contract last year and was assured he would be given an opportunity in the Test side during the current series against New Zealand.
Instead, Tsolekile was dropped from the squad, having not been given an opportunity to play a single Test on tours of England and Australia, with key batsman AB de Villiers being entrusted with the gloves as the current successor to Mark Boucher.
"Andrew Hudson was invited to address us and he explained the selectors' thinking in detail," Basson said.
"After a long and intensive debate, he left more enlightened and informed about what is required from the selectors in terms of transformation. He has been sensitised to make sure the selectors deal with transformation in the most appropriate way in future."
Basson confirmed that a mandatory number of black African players was being considered by CSA for franchise and national teams.
"The target at the moment is four blacks for franchise and national teams, but a stipulation for black Africans will be coming as part of the strategy of the transformation committee," Basson said.
Basson acknowledged that more needed to be done at the higher levels of cricket in terms of transformation, but he said this had to be part of "a natural, bottom-upwards process".
"Transformation at school and club level is far advanced - more than 60 percent of players are black at those levels. Transformation is still in progress at national level, and our efforts have been recognised by the minister of sport.
"But we're now looking at three levels of transformation because they all have different requirements - national teams, franchises, and schools and clubs. The pipeline needs to flow in a natural, bottom-upwards process."
According to the acting president, Hudson defended the exclusion of Tsolekile because De Villiers was a much better batsman than the 32-year-old Highveld Lions wicketkeeper.
"Andrew explained to us the problems faced by the selectors in ensuring the team remains at the highest level and balancing that with the sensitivities of selection in ensuring there are necessary opportunities for everyone," Basson said.
"He said it had been a case of AB de Villiers's tremendous batting ability being more valuable than Tsolekile's outstanding wicketkeeping, and that, according to Andrew, Thami understands the position 100 percent.
"But the foundation has been laid for much better communication between the selectors, players and the board than in the past."
Basson also confirmed that the appointment of a black African national selector was "in the pipeline" and they were calling for nominations.
Former Proteas and Knights bowler Victor Mpitsang is reportedly the most favourable candidate.
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