/ 22 November 2023

Proteas show resilience at the World Cup

South Africa Vs Australia Icc Men's Cricket World Cup Semifinals
October 16, 2023, Kolkata, India: Tabraiz Shamsi of South Africa celebrates with teammates Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram after dismissing Marnus Labuschagne of Australia (not pictured) during the semifinal match between Australia and South Africa of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup at Eden Gardens Stadium. (Photo by Dipa Chakraborty/ Eyepix Group) (Photo credit should read Dipa Chakraborty/ Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The recently concluded ICC World Cup showed the remarkable resilience of the Proteas. Despite facing several difficulties on and off the field, they fought fiercely, displayed notable character and patriotism and demonstrated the capability to compete against the world’s best. Their resilience should be harnessed towards future success. 

The rebuilding phase after the ICC World Cup is crucial for the Proteas. The strategy should focus on combining youth and experience, with a keen eye on grooming future leaders. This process must be driven by a meritocratic approach, where players are selected based on their abilities rather than external factors such as quotas or political pressures.

Transformation in South African cricket is important because of the historical disparities present in the sport. Although transformation targets aim to create a more inclusive and representative team, they should not compromise the quality or competitiveness of the Proteas. The focus must remain on identifying and nurturing talent from all backgrounds, ensuring equal opportunities and promoting diversity in the team. Collaboration between cricket administrators, coaches and local structures is key to achieving sustainable transformation goals.

Investing in local franchise cricket is fundamental to developing a strong talent pool. By bolstering the infrastructure, coaching standards and resources at the domestic level, we can identify and groom talented players from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, providing exposure to international leagues such as the Indian Premier League can help players gain invaluable experience and bring back fresh ideas, benefiting South African cricket as a whole.

In the aftermath of the cricket and rugby world cups, our townships and rural areas have a unique opportunity for rebuilding and transformation. Massification of sports in townships and rural areas is essential, and collaboration between the government and the private sector can play a significant role in achieving this goal. By bringing more recreational facilities to townships, rural areas and schools, sports can become accessible to all, irrespective of socio-economic backgrounds. This pragmatic approach to transformation will increase participation in sports as well as promote inclusivity and social cohesion in communities. By investing in sports, we are investing in the future of our townships and rural areas  fostering talent and creating opportunities for personal growth and success.

The experience of seasoned Protea players should not be disregarded during the rebuilding process. An effective transformation plan that allows experienced players to mentor and nurture future stars should be implemented. 

With a clear vision, strategic planning, and collaboration among stakeholders, South Africa can inspire a new generation of cricketing talent, both on and off the field.

Andile Lungisa is an ANC national executive committee member.