South Africa announce racial quotas for national team

CAPE TOWN: Cricket South Africa (CSA) have put in place racial quotas for the national team across all three formats of the game in an effort to increase the number of black players in a sport still dominated by whites.

CSA have sought an average minimum of six Black players, of which two must be Black African, in matches over the season, the organisation announced on Saturday.

The move will have little immediate impact on the team as those targets were reached in the recent test series win over New Zealand when the side was at full-strength bar the absence of injured captain AB de Villiers.

"The test starting XI that played in the recent series against New Zealand contained six players of colour and two Black Africans, and the ODI starting XI had as many as eight players of colour in their most recent series against the West Indies and Australia," CSA President Chris Nenzani said in a statement.

"With the targets being measured over the full season and being cumulative across all three formats, our selectors and team management will have the flexibility to deal with varying circumstances.

"This shows very clearly that the targets are very attainable and sustainable and we will maintain the world-class standards that our players regularly produce."

South Africa are next in action in a one-day international against Ireland on Sept. 25, before meeting Australia in the first of five 50-over matches at home on Sept. 30.

CSA have already introduced quotas for the country's domestic franchise competitions where teams must field at least six players of colour, including three black African players.

However, South Africa's sports minister Fikile Mbalula has been critical of what he says is the slow rate of change in the country's major sporting codes, bar football.

The government has been pushing for more black representation in the national teams of popular sports like cricket and rugby still dominated by whites who were favoured for selection during apartheid rule.

It banned its national cricket and rugby federations from hosting or bidding for international tournaments for at least a year in April due to their failure to increase their representation of black players.

The country has seen greater participation among black players in most sports at junior level despite the challenge of providing adequate school facilities in poorer districts but Mbalula wants to see this reflected at national team level.