Cricket South Africa (CSA) recently issued a new racial selection policy in a bid to curb racism, which has bedeviled the national cricket team for years.
With the new policy, the South African national cricket team, which is comprised of 11 players, must have six players that are classified as Black and at least two that are Black African, according to the Economist.
The South African Ministry of Sport welcomed the new guidelines, insisting that they would help address decades-old racial discrimination in the sport.
This announcement comes just four months after the South African Ministry of Sport banned four sports associations in the country, including cricket, from bidding to host international tournaments due to failure to comply with the inclusion of Black players prerequisite.
For many years, very few Black South Africans have been representing the national cricket team, despite the fact that so many of them are enthusiastic about the sport.
In the early ’80s, the International Cricket Council expelled South Africa from participating in international cricket due to its “racist selection policy,” sparking debates over whether the national team is representative of the country.
According to the Economist, only 10 percent of Black Africans represented the South African national cricket team in international appearances between 2014 and 2015, despite being the largest population in the country.
Indeed, only seven of the 90 Test players selected since the country was readmitted to international cricket in 1991 have been Black Africans.
While a majority of South Africans have welcomed the new racial selection policy, some argue that the requirements will trigger tension on the team.
Previously, similar policies have rubbed some players the wrong way, with some assuming that Black African players are picked on the basis of color rather than merit.
Some also contend that the new policy might lead to poor performance by the national team, which was ranked the world’s best in Test cricket in January this year.
Lack of proper training equipment, which is quite expensive for most Black South Africans, is also viewed as a major cause of under-representation in national cricket.