Quota sytem in South Africa coming to an end

Published: Thursday, December 4, 2008, 12:21 [IST]
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Melbourne: Cricket South Africa is planning to scrap controversial quota system after the resounding success within the national side, which now fields top performing non-white players who are ranked among the world's best.

Plans have been made to continue the "target transformation policy"often referred to as a "quota system" —for the next three years before discarding it for merit-based only selection.

Currently, Cricket South Africa has set a selection target of four coloured players for the Proteas team and its six domestic franchises.

"The goal is to get merit-based selection at all levels of cricket," CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said last night.

"We have decided to continue with the target transformation policy for the next three years, with a review at the end of each year. At the end of the three years we hope we can then move to merit-based selection across the board."

The Proteas have selected seven coloured players in their 15-man squad to tour Australia from next week: Ashwell Prince, Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Jean-Paul Duminy, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Monde Zondeki. The policy has prompted much debate and controversy since it was officially adopted in 1998.

On that occasion, South African selectors were instructed by senior board officials to include Herschelle Gibbs, a coloured batsman, in the Test XI to face the West Indies. Gibbs was the only non-white player in the Proteas line-up at the time.

The so-called quota system has polarised opinion in South Africa, most notably on the eve of the Sydney Test in 2002. Jacques Rudolph, a talented white batsman was dropped on the morning of the match for the coloured Justin Ontong at the behest of the late Percy Sonn, then CSA president.

Critics viewed the move as tokenistic, however CSA defended Ontong's selection by arguing that the fight for racial equality was more important than sport.

England captain Kevin Pietersen previously blamed the quota system as the reason behind his departure from South Africa in 2000.

"I was dropped because the quota system was brought into South African cricket to positively discriminate in favour of 'players of colour' and to fast-track the racial integration of cricket in the country," Pietersen wrote in his autobiography, Crossing The Boundary.


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