Cape Town - Former Proteas spinner Pat Symcox has shared his thoughts on what Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) quota system will have on the game.
This comes after CSA confirmed over the weekend that the national team must conform to targets based on race.
The Proteas will be required to field an average of six players of colour in their starting XIs over the course of a season, while two of those must be black African.
In an interview with Ballz Radio, Symcox tackled the issue from two fronts: How it will affect the national team’s performances and how the general public perceive the issue.
Symcox does not feel there is a need for a quota system in the current Proteas set-up.
“As far as this team is concerned, I think we could do away with those kinds of things... transformation and quotas. The guys are all good enough, we’ve got enough players of colour coming through. That shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.
“However, when you have to find ways within the team to workout combinations, it does become problematic... if you suddenly decide you need to play two spinners, or maybe you need to play four fast bowlers.
“Let’s look at this current team that beat the New Zealanders quite convincingly. What happens if say, Kagiso Rabada runs up and gets injured, because that’s what happens to fast bowlers. Then you would say: ‘who do we bring in?’ You’ve got Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott and (Chris) Morris - if you bring them in, then your combination alters. Then you need to find somebody to replace Rabada... does it have to be a spinner? It’s probably going to be (Aaron) Phangiso. So how do we find a place for Phangiso, because (Dane) Piedt is there already... do we drop him? Now AB (de Villiers) comes in, do we put him in place of JP Duminy?
“How do we manage that? That becomes a bit of a nightmare and then you find your management are more concerned about how you are finding a team to meet criteria as opposed to winning the match, and that’s one of my concerns.”
Transformation will become an issue in the national set-up once inevitable injuries occur, Symcox warned.
“Will it affect the team right now? No, as long as everybody’s fit, but we do know that things will change and people will get injured and more specifically, if you go to Australia which is a really tough tour, lots of hard work on hard grounds... if somebody gets injured, how do we replace these people within the context of what we’re trying to achieve?
“Don’t get me wrong, of course we all want to achieve the same thing - to grow the game across all colours - and I’m for that, but if you’re just talking from a cricketing point of view, it does become a nightmare to manage.”
Symcox said parents of young white cricketers are worried about whether their kids have a future in the game in South Africa.
“I talk to people out there, of course they have fears. And those fears are real. And that is something that Cricket South Africa will need to continue to communicate, but as time goes on and people come through the system, I guess it will go away and it’s a role we will have to play for a period of time.”
Players will leave the country though, Symcox warned, referring to South African-born Neil Wagner who plays for New Zealand.
“We’ve seen that happening and it will continue to happen. And that in itself is a travesty, because we don’t want to have the Wagners playing against us, but I think it’s part of the process we’re in and we just need to get on with it.”