And yes, the irony of the situation and the fact the government is practicing reverse social engineering has not escaped me or anyone else for that matter. In the late nineties, this issue was the tipping point on the transformation debate but what else could government do to correct the situation?
In that case where are all New Zealand's Maori Test cricketers? They make up nearly 20% of the population there?
And New Zealand is a 'normal' society, but their cricket side is nowhere close to reflecting the demographics of the country.
Why? Because Maoris (I assume) prefer to play rugby. There needs to be black Africans in the Test side but to expect them to make up 80% of any national Test squad is, frankly, absurd.
I'm not a New Zealander. I'm not qualified to talk about their country. I don't know their politics, history or issues.
If you went into many rural townships and asked someone who Graeme Smith was, you would most probably get a return answer of "Graeme who?" If you go into that same community and asked them who Menzi Ngubane was, you'll soon be roped into a conversation that would last a couple of hours (In case you are curious, he is one of the lead actors in the most popular soapies [Generations] in SA...watched daily by over 10 million people).
If you want to woo a prospective group to your way of thinking, you have to start talking their language.
Its not that their is no interest...there's just no motivation. Children can't associate with something they can't relate too. They choose soccer because their role models and hero's play soccer. Simple actually.
As for the SABC and their broadcasting of Cricket, it doesn't help that prospective new audiences do not understand the point, rules or reason's of the game (they are just like American's in that regard) and nobody seems inclined to want to explain it either. Back in the early 2000's, I had it once explained to me that Test cricket was a source of big amusement when it aired on TV...an opportunity to observe white people doing some very amusing things (You must remember, there are million's of rural South African's that have never even met a white person before. I was visiting in a Township called Kanyamazane in Nelspruit in Mpumulanga). It also does not help that many don't understand English or Afrikaans so people make up their own running commentary in their own language for the amusement of the other people huddled around the television to the sounds of raucous laughter. Of course, when Makhaya started bowling, interest peaked, but as soon as he got taken off, everyone changed the channel.
Its about precedence and priority of the 2 issues. The South African government backed by a then 80% majority of the voters in the country (including myself) voted for and endorsed a pro transformation policy more than a decade ago. I am South African, love my country, very patriotic. I am a Protea's supporter, love my cricket team, want to see them be the best in the world.
However, whichever way I spin it, any decision requiring choice between the Protea's or my country, the Protea's always lose. Any attempt to elevate the interests of the Protea's above the wishes of the government and the majority of the voters of this country could be construed as being subversive. In the end, you may protest the decision and debate it but you must also respect it because in doing so, you respect the principles of a majority who voted in a constitutionally elected democracy.
If you think this is wrong, then I would maybe suggest that you migrate to a non-democratic country :p
You and alot of people take it for granted that when many children's cricket experience starts, they have parents, coaches, teachers, community leaders and religious figures who support children, constantly motivating them and supporting them...driving them to excellence while at the same time providing a constant stream of emotional positive re-enforcement. Here in poor South Africa, you're lucky if you have such resources or even people that give a damn.
Its like that joke about non-existant fathers:
Father: I'm a good father to our child!
Single mom: Oh really. What makes you think that when you don't even see him/her?
Father: I pay child support!
Go figure :p
Did you watch Sachin's interview after his retirement? He took great pains to emphasize the support structure around him (most notably his parents and teacher) that was pushing him to excellence. Instead of paying homage to Sachin for the talent he was, maybe we should rather direct our respect to Mr and Mrs Tendulkar for making Sachin the person that he is?
Some one mentioned the fact that Vernon Philander made it into the Test team even having grown up in Ravensmead?
Just to explain that...
Ravensmead is a suburb on the outskirts of Bellville...a formerly white-designated CBD and residential area which has got lots of excellent sporting infrastructure, schools, etc. As far as suburbs go, Ravensmead is above average (compared to where I grew up) and Bellville is posh (comparatively speaking). Bellville is also the home of the famous Bellville Cricket club (Beuran Hendricks also hails from this club), one of the most prestigious clubs in the Cape Town Metropolis. All the immediate Bellville surrounding districts and schools (such as Ravensmead) feed into Bellville Cricket club which feeds into Western Cape Cricket Association which feeds into the Cape Cobra's franchise which feeds into the Protea's setup. Point is, the further you move away from cricketing centers, the less likely you are to be exposed to it.
The Kenyan team has suffered a massive setback in terms of finances. The ICC funding and goodwill has dried up and the game of cricket is regressing. The situation is made worse because the political situation is not ideal. The Kenyan government is also not able to subsidize the game to any extent. Kenyan cricket final's are sometimes screened here on the Supersport Sports channel and going by the visual's, the cricket fields don't look healthy and there are no virtually no supporters. Sad really :(