South African players talks about racial discrimination in the team

Khaya Zondo/Ashwell Prince (Image source:Twitter)
Khaya Zondo/Ashwell Prince (Image source: Twitter)

In a month’s span various hearings and allegations of racial discrimination have been made in South African cricket. Several players have claimed about this issue and revealed their experiences to the board. South African bowler Lungi Ngidi’s support to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 gave a spark to the formation of the Social Justice and Nation Building Project (SJN).

Social discrimination allegations are coming from both sides, the former South African players as well as current team members. Former players like Ashwell Prince, Aaron Phangiso, Paul Adams, Thami Tsolekile have shared their stories of how they were discriminated against by their teammates and coaches during their playing careers. 

Ashwell Prince who has scored over 3,500 runs at an average of 41.64 in 66 test matches claims that he had been claimed as a “quota player” and did not feel welcomed in the team. Prince said in an interview, You think that you’re playing for your country, that you’re living a dream, but it was no dream. I raised my bat to my parents, then to my wife on the other side of the stadium, and then, lastly and reluctantly, I raised my bat to my teammates. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have raised my bat to them. We weren’t a team.”

The South African spinner Paul Adams who took 134 wickets in 45 tests revealed that he was called “Brown S**t.” He initially did not complain but his girlfriend, now wife, made him realize that it was racial discrimination.  

Khaya Zondo reveals stunning details

South African batsman Khaya Zondo revealed about his discriminating experience with then captain AB de Villiers. The captain (de Villiers) called me over to the side, away from the rest of the team and mentioned to me he was the one who felt I should not play. He was trying to explain himself and he was taking full responsibility for the decision,” Zondo read from his prepared submission to the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza.

 “I remember in the moment of him explaining himself to me, losing all respect for him as a captain, and as someone I looked up to as a cricketing hero of mine because I could not believe this guy was trying to justify himself to me, and it came across as if I should accept this decision because the decision came from him.”

“I switched off mentally for the rest of the day and I detached myself from the team because it was clear I was not wanted. Switching off helped me cope with everything that was happening. The hardest part was watching the players who were selected ahead of me playing and having the opportunity to shine for South Africa on a world stage, in India and having a chance to play and potentially impress and get future IPL opportunities.”

The SJN hearings will continue on 23rd August 2021. 

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