Racial divisions in South African Cricket were traced on Tuesday when 30 black former International players issued a statement alleging racism is a factor in the game.
The letter commended current fast bowler Lungi Nigdi who last week expressed support for the Black Lives Matter Campaign & appealed Cricket South Africa to come out if favor of the movement. Signatories included fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who played in 101 Test matches, and other former stars such as Vernon Philander, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Paul Adams, and JP Duminy. A total of 36 people, including five coaches, were named on the document.
Current black players such as Kagiso Rabada & Nigdi were not included in the Signatories nor were any white players. The statement claimed despite three decades of cricket unity, “the views expressed from one side of the racial divide are still very much part of our lives… We see this an opportunity for CSA to be unequivocal about its position and to make sure the problem is confronted and we also invite our fellow white cricketers to join in this movement to defend human dignity.”
There was no immediate response from CSA. The statement noted criticism of Nigdi by former players including Pat Symcox, Boeta Dippenaar, Rudi Steyn, and Brian McMillan. “We are not surprised by their comments. Given South Africa’s well-known past, black cricketers have borne the brunt of subtle and overt racist behavior for many years, including from some colleagues.”
Prince who played for Africa in 66 Tests also posted a thread on twitter claiming racial transformation has been met with resistance & “there had never been any unity” in the decade he played for South Africa.
“In the last six months all eight new appointments within the executive management of cricket have all been white males,” wrote Ramela, a former franchise player who represented South Africa A. Ramela’s letter came against the backdrop of a campaign on social media challenging the appointment of former Test Wicket keeper Mark Boucher as National team coach alleging there had been a lack of due process before he was appointed by his former captain, CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith. Both are white.