Young black players will not make it as cricketers if they stay in the township culture, says former CSA administrator Ali Bacher.
Bacher told Afrikaans newspaper Beeld that unless a player is born with the same genes as West Indian cricket great Brian Lara, there is ‘no way’ they will make it as a cricketer if they stay in the township culture.
South Africa’s two most recent black stars, Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma, both went to traditional private cricket schools. Bavuma comes from Langa but went to St David’s College in Johannesburg. Rabada went to St Stithians College and Makhaya Ntini, South Africa’s most successful black cricketer, went to Dale College.
‘People often get angry with me when I say this, but for a black player to make it in South African cricket they have to go to one of the traditional cricketing schools in the country. It’s as simple as that,’ Bacher said.
‘As a young kid I was lucky to get my schooling at King Edward School (KES) which had the best facilities imaginable. The cricket nets were excellent and the pitches we played on was of a high standard. We also had some of the best coaches. All that helped to lay the foundation for my future and after school I was ready to take the next step to club cricket.’
‘The black players who’ve been successful so far like Ntini, Aaron Phangiso and Bavuma all went from the townships to traditional cricket schools,’ Bacher said.
‘What chance does someone like Kagiso have to reach something in that environment? There aren’t proper facilities and the few fields they do have to play on barely has grass on it. It is totally insufficient to serve as the foundation for a promising cricketing career.
‘That is why it’s crucial for the young talented players to be identified so they can be moved to one of the top schools in the country. Not all the kids who come out of those schools will make it, but at least they will get a good education. Equal opportunities are created for everyone at those schools. I am also a supporter of having quotas at schools level, but I feel after that merit must be the only requirement.’
Bacher spoke highly of Bavuma’s maiden Test hundred against England.
‘I had been looking forward to that day for a long time and I believe it will serve as inspiration for many young players in the townships to follow in his footsteps.’