Arthur believes racism in South African cricket is nowhere near as bad as it used to be
Former South Africa head coach Mickey Arthur has dismissed speculation that racism is still a major problem in South African cricket.
Arthur’s comments come after legendary South African pace bowler Makhaya Ntini stated that specialist wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile was not being selected to represent the national team since he was black.
Ntini further shocked the cricketing world by saying Tsolekile “would be playing for the Proteas if he was white”.
As of right now, 40 million people out of South Africa’s 50 million population are black Africans and after Ntini retired from international cricket, pace bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been the only other black African to represent the Proteas.
Ntini has already called on the national selectors to have Tsolekile replace Jean Paul (JP) Duminy, who has been ruled out for the next six months after rupturing his Achilles tendon, and take over wicketkeeping duties from AB de Villiers.
“I genuinely feel the South African cricket team has gone past all that now,” News.com.au quoted Arthur as saying. “They’re in a really good place as a unit and a team. There are enough players of colour that are playing on absolute merit in their starting line-up.
“I honestly don’t think it is a massive issue. Yes, there are always checks and balances in place. There is a target system. I had those targets we had to meet but I had really good men around me.”
However, Arthur noted that even though racism used to exist in the past, it is currently nowhere near as big of an issue as it used to be.
“Yes, it was always there, and sometimes it was a throw away line when someone got left out but I honestly don’t see it as a massive issue any more,” Arthur added. “The system is producing enough players of all colours to make that quota system almost irrelevant at the moment.”
South Africa currently have one of the most diverse teams in terms of race and religion and Arthur believes that the players’ acceptance of one another has attributed to their rise in the Test rankings throughout the last couple of years.
“When you’ve got a dressing room full of different races, religions and cultures its a volatile pot,” Arthur said. “When I was in South Africa we used that as our competitive edge and I’m pretty sure they’re doing it at the moment.
“The competitive edge of combining all those races into one team makes South Africa a very good cricket side. It galvanised the team, it the galvanised the nation.”