Cape Town - The South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has welcomed the news that there will be no official quota system for the Proteas at the upcoming Cricket World Cup in England.
This comes after a report on Netwerk24 earlier in the week in which Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Thabang Moroe said there will be no transformation targets for coach Ottis Gibson and convenor of selectors Linda Zondi to adhere to at the tournament.
"The announcement by Cricket South Africa chief executive officer Thabang Moroe that there will be no racial 'targets' in selecting the national squad for the Cricket World Cup to be held in England later this year is to be welcomed," the IRR said via a press statement.
Even though CSA has an official policy that requires the national team to average 55% players of colour in all formats throughout a season, Moroe said this will not be the case at the World Cup in England.
"There are no targets. They (Gibson and Zondi) can decide themselves on the composition of the 15-man squad. We want the best 15 players to be picked so that we can win the tournament. The same goes for the 11 that step on to the field. I don't want a team to be picked to drive a certain agenda," Moroe said.
The IRR's statement continued: "The IRR has long argued that merit should be the primary basis of selecting sportsmen and women to represent South Africa at national level.
"While a case can be made for initiatives to promote inclusivity at lower levels, they should not be considered in top-flight international sport. Players of colour who are good enough to be noticed by national selectors through performances in franchise cricket are unlikely to need an additional leg-up in any case.
"Furthermore, even without any sort of racial target, based on their merits, close to half of the squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup will likely be 'players of colour' in any event. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, and JP Duminy, among others, will be among the first names jotted down on any selector’s team sheet for a South African ODI XI."
BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS BACK MERIT
The IRR added that the majority of South African sports fans want merit-based selections.
"And this is the way most South Africans want their national teams to be selected. A new IRR poll, which is to be released later this year, shows that 83% of South Africans (and 82% of black South Africans) believe that the only criteria for selecting national sports teams should be merit.
"Most South Africans are more concerned about the performance of the national side than the skin colour of individual players.
"Rather than focusing on the racial make-up of our national sports teams, we must strive as far as possible to ensure that everyone who wants to play a sport, and excel in it, has the opportunity to do so. But it is telling that fewer than 1 500 of our 23 500 public schools even have a cricket pitch. Ensuring that a certain proportion of the Proteas are black won't change this."