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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Other sport: Domestic cricket creates step up woes


Article by Boertjie

When Kepler Wessels a few years ago warned that South African cricket is going to pay the price for artificially spreading the game to too many provinces, he was ignored. There has since then been some changes, with teams being grouped together. This did not change the status quo and the malaise is ongoing.

Wessels - and he was all but alone in his views - warned that we simply don't have the talent to accommodate more than six provincial teams and some 90 players of quality. However, politics demanded the expansion and it happened at a frantic pace.

Yesterday national coach Mickey Arthur lamented that the step up from franchise cricket to the international level was too big for players to handle.

Arthur acknowledged to Christo Buchner of News24 that he had been disappointed by the performance of some players who joined the team after the Test series.

"We must find a way to narrow that gap. When a player is summoned to join the national squad after playing in the local competitions, he should be able to fit in immediately. The gap should not be that big.

"It seems as if the step up is too steep for some players and we have to give urgent attention to the matter," the coach said.

It has to be granted that injuries are playing a major role in the current demise of the Proteas, but it takes nothing away from the sick and bankrupt situation of cricket in the country. Very few spectators turn up at the traditional format of the game, and even the onedayers are suffering lack of support.

In recent years there were quite a few players who just did not make it to the next level when given the chance. Names that come to mind is Shafiek Abrahams, Hashim Amla, Martin van Jaarsveld, Robin Peterson, Albie Morkel, Tsami Tsolekile, Zander de Bruyn and Justin Ontong - to name a few. They all looked capable in the domestic game, but fell woefully short at international level.


Yesterday naional convenor of selectors Haroon Lorgat rubbished reports that Jacques Rudolph lost out in the Proteas' most recent game in Australia because of "targets".

Asked about whether CSA stipulates that four black players had to be picked at all times, Lorgat responded: "That's absolute rubbish. I don't count colour. How many played in Friday's game? That has never the case. I don't know how many times I need to explain this."

"We do have a target in place for the World Cup in West Indies in 2007 in relation to black players. But that is what it is - a target. We select the team entirely on merit and will continue to do so. There is no pressure from above (government)."

Source: News24

I don't believe Lorgat for one second.

This is precisely where South African sports administrators are falling all over their own semantics.

Call a 'quota' whatever you will, whether it is right or not, it is still a 'quota'.

Rather be honest and get on with it.

Drop the 'targets', 'merit with bias', 'development', 'transformation' and simply call it what is semantically correct in English - a quota.

It's nothing to be scared off.

"We have instituted a quota in an attempt to address the wrongs of the past and fast-forward previously disadvantaged players."

Maybe the lingual gymnastics are necessary to appease international sports bodies but watching local administrators and politicians squirm and wriggle whenever questioned on the subject is dishonest and unedifying.

Almost everyone accepts that measures have to be taken to address the inequities of the past, the salient question, though, is how long are these measures going to be in place?

Nearly 15 years after unity (approaching what is generally accepted as a generation) and 11 years after universal franchise, perhaps we should at this stage be discussing how to dismantle quotas, not increasingly ramp them up.

Sports bodies like SARU must take their share of blame by not taking the concept seriously for nearly a decade.

At some stage, the desirable state of affairs must be that the government says, "enough, we've reached a position where each sportsman or woman must take personal responsibility for being good enough to be selected to represent our country on merit."

We aren't there yet but I hope to Gaia we are closer to that situation than further.

Just so we can all settle down and debate the selections of players on their abilities, blind to the farcical subject of their race.
you basically covered it all ras.

we all know it is there, why deny it?

"We select the team entirely on merit"

if that is the case we are in deep shit when it comes to talent in the country.

or then rather say what you gage merit on?

there are some brilliant cricketers who constantly perform in SA but never gets a call up.

yet how many times does or bowlers and batsman need to fail before they get the boot?

or how many catches need to be dropped?

absolute bullshit this.
Personally.....I think the amount of international games being played is also killing our domestic rugby and cricket.

By having no international calibre playing in domestic lower the standards and with it,the general publics interest.

Our crickets need to start playing fewer ODI's interantionals....and be availible for more domestic stuff.

Likewise our rugby players need to be availible for CC.Current S14 games and internationals dictate that this is not possible. We need to decrease the amount of international games and increase the interest and quality all round domestically.

Quite frankly...I'd kill off the S14 long before I kill off the CC.

Our international teams have always preformed at their best when our domestic competitions have been strong.Look at the cricketers our country bred in the 70's,80's and early 90's.Why? In my opinion...because all of them played in a strong domestic scene.The exclusion from internationals bred some of the finest players our country has produced.When we did get a chance to play against "unofficial" teams....our players always acquitted themselves well.......or they went overseas and became superstars in the English county scene.

We have bread our cricket weak in the past decade.

The same will happen in rugby if our current international stars are made completely unavailible for the CC.

Even our 2 Tri-nations wins have come off the back of a strong CC year....the Sharks,the Bulls and WP having a particularly good run in 2004 S14.

Our World Cup win came off the back of a very strong Traansval side who won the CC and S10 in that particular era.

We need to decrease the amount of games being played, as well as the amount of (so-called) proffessionals.....thereby increasing the quality of players as well as quality of quotas.

I have no problem with good quota players.Quotas need to be enforced because many of our current coaches have paradyms(spelling) and are reluctant to change.

Habana is a quota, to my mind, you cannot get rich off the back of a quota system and then pronounce yourself..."not a quota".

What we want is all our quotas to be Habana calibre......nobody would really give a toss about the word then anyway.

Sticks and stones sort of stuff?
A lot of truth in this posting. The step up to International cricket is huge and even bigger the second year when the opposition knows what to expect from you.

An excellent posting, I agree with all you have said.

On quotas or call it what you want, I get the impression the Administrators want the previous disadvantages to be spoon fed until they reach a certain level. Very few of them realize the hours and hours of sacrifice and practice it takes to get to the top. Its hard work and if the material available is not willing to give it their all, they only have themselves to blame.
My experience is that if you dont want it enough all the coaching and practice in the world is just a waste of time. Your head must be right.
well said StP and i could not agree more.

the CC last year proved how much stock SA supporters still put in the domestic scene, but it only happened once the big names came back.

personally i think the 3N is becoming a waste of time - i would love to see test series come back in rugby as suppose to the same old bloody matches.
Yip Agree with Ras first post- think I will put it up as an Arti on OORb and then, strangely enough I also agree fullY with St Pete ;-)  
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