‘We were not a team’, former South African cricketers make damning revelations about racial discrimination in Proteas camp

Johannesburg: Allegations of racial discrimination in South African cricket were made during a month of hearings, with a star claiming he was called a “quota player” and that representing the national team was not “not a dream”.

Another said that a modified version of the 1970s pop song “Brown Girl in the Ring” was used to distinguish it.

What Cricket South Africa (CSA) described as a social justice and nation-building project was sparked by fast-thrower Lungi Ngidi’s current support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

Public criticism of Ngidi’s comments, including some former players, led to a statement from a group of former black international cricketers that they had suffered discrimination during their careers.

An independent ombudsman, lawyer Dumisa Ntsebeza, heard testimony from former prominent players, including Ashwell Prince and Paul Adams.

Representation photo. PA

Prince, a batsman who scored 3,665 points with an average of 41.64 in 66 tests, claimed he was called a “quota player” and did not feel welcome in the National team.

The CSA has set for several years racial “goals” to ensure diversity within the team and several players have said they have had to fight against accusations that they were selected only because of their color. .

“You think you’re playing for your country, that you are living a dream, but it wasn’t a dream,” said Prince, who now coaches the Cape Cobras franchise team.

Prince revealed how three national teammates used the quota issue to insult him in a franchise game the week before he scored a century of trying against Australia as the opening batsman, well that he does not normally beat in this position.

“We were not a team”

“I raised my bat to my parents, then to my wife on the other side of the stadium and then, finally and reluctantly, I raised my bat to my teammates,” he said.

“If I had had the choice, I wouldn’t have raised my bat towards them. We weren’t a team.”

Prince said team management, when Gary Kirsten was coach, turned down a request from another player of color to discuss South Africa‘s history during a liaison weekend in ‘team.

He said if such discussions had taken place, the issue of Black Lives Matter might not have been so controversial.

Adams, a spin thrower who took 134 wickets in 45 tests, said he was called “brown shit” in post-game fine meetings when his teammates adapted the lyrics to a song. by Boney M “Brown Girl in the Ring”.

He said he didn’t initially complain, but his girlfriend, now his wife, pointed out that he was racially stereotyped.

Several former white players, including current coach Mark Boucher, cricket manager Graeme Smith and recently retired star batsman AB de Villiers, were mentioned at the hearings.

Boucher said he would respond to the allegations made against him.

Before Friday’s adjournment, Ntsebeza assured “that those who were mentioned negatively during the hearings will have the opportunity to formally respond to such allegations.”

The deadline for submissions is August 18 and hearings will resume on August 23.

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