For the past few years, our national men’s cricket team, The Proteas, have been a bit of a sad spectacle on and off the field. But this week, fans are still crowing about series wins against India in both the One Day International and Test formats, and there’s a real sense of cohesion and camaraderie in the team led by the mighty (and mighty short!) Temba Bavuma. 😬
Off-field, however, the past is catching up with the team’s head coach Mark Boucher and Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) director of cricket and former captain Graeme Smith.
Boucher faces charges over various instances of racism and bringing CSA into disrepute. Former team-mate Paul Adams said his team-mates – including Boucher – had referred to him as “brown shit” during post-match fines meetings while singing an adaptation of Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring”.
The body says his charges warrant a dismissal and we tend to agree, but others don’t. Boucher’s legal fees are being footed by a group of outraged, rich businessmen, according to Rapport. 🙄
The men’s team has been scarred by a history of racial issues. You may remember the team’s first black player, Makhaya Ntini, disclosing how he was ostracised during his early days, or Lungi Ngidi’s backlash for his support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement in 2020.
Following the disclosures, Cricket SA and the Social Justice and Nation-Building project attempted to tackle racism in cricket with a series of hearings. Now, more action is being taken to encourage transformation in cricket to lead us towards bigger wins, as we’ve seen the Springboks achieve in our transformed rugby.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for SA cricket. A big shout-out to the Protea’s women’s opening batter Lizelle Lee, who received the 2021 International Cricket Council Women’s One-Day International (ODI) Cricketer of the Year accolade! She also ranks first in the Women’s ODI batting rankings. Men’s team: take note! 🙌🏽
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 27 January 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.