Proteas cricket team gradually taking on a migrant hueMarch 16th, 2009 - 2:35 pm ICT by ANI
Cape Town (South Africa), Mar.16 (ANI): Four of South Africa’’s top six batsmen in the forthcoming Test match have brown skins, and had tall left-arm fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe recovered from knee surgery, most of Graeme Smiths team would have included players from previously repressed communities. We are talking about Ashwell Prince, who blasted 254 of the best at the weekend to remind the selectors about what they had been missing in the two-nil series defeat against Australia.
Another brown-skinned star in the making is Imraan Khan, who stroked a stylish 145 for KwaZulu-Natal at the Pietermaritzburg’’s cricket ground. Hashim Amla and J.P. Duminy are the other two belonging to minority communities in South Africa, who have made a name for themselves in international cricket.
The current crop confirms that the game is rising in all groupings in South Africa, and is no longer restricted to the whites.
The various non-white communities have never been away from the game. Cricket was strongly played by Indian groups in Natal, where Amla and Imraan were reared, and also in the Cape, where Prince and Duminy took guard.
But it is one thing to play matches against neighbours, another to produce Test cricketers. In the 1990s, South African teams led by Kepler Wessels and Hansie Cronje often did not include a single non-white player.
To now have half of the side non-white is a remarkable achievement, and it has been effected without a bloody revolution. Imraan is a smallish, left-handed opening batsmen. The 24-year-old has scored hundreds in each of his past four provincial matches.
Mahatma Gandhi’’s conscience was awoken after he worked as a lawyer among fellow Indians in Natal. Although not much of a cricketer, the great man would have been delighted to see Imraan score a hundred for a Natal team that was captained by Ahmed Amla, Hashim’’s elder brother. The Amlas are products of a professional and prosperous Indian family. Their parents are doctors and the boys attended Durban High School, a prestigious establishment with a strong cricketing tradition. Makhaya Ntini was shepherding sheep until his ability was recognized and he was sent to Dale College. The Amlas followed a well-trodden path.
Prince was omitted from the first two Tests because the selectors did not want to disrupt a successful side. Although logical, it meant leaving out a batsmen respected by these opponents who averaged 60 last year. Unfortunately, Neil McKenzie did not justify the faith shown in him. Even now Prince has been asked to open. He is entitled to feel aggrieved. Regardless, he has achieved far more than expected. Even with the selectors searching for coloured players, he did not catch the eye. Except his returns, nothing in his batting tells of exceptional talent. His rise has confirmed the role of character and commitment in batting. It has also carried a higher significance, forcing those with old minds to confront their demons. (ANI)
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