Last month, while stressing that the current "targets" should continue until at least 2010, the South African board recommended that the ultimate responsibility for selecting the national XI should lie with the coach and convenor of selectors, that the selectors should be solely responsible for squad selections, and that the board president should no longer be empowered to wield a veto. Many interpreted this as confirmation that the end of quotas was nigh. However misplaced, the applause was global, the mourning inaudible.
There were Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini and Ashwell Prince clopping down those ancient pavilion steps, wearing those dark green, defiantly unbaggy caps, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Afrikaaners, 153 Tests between them already, 345 wickets, 17 five-fors, 4598 runs and 11 centuries safely deposited in their joint account. For a few moments, as this realisation dawned, the lump in my throat had all the makings of a second Gibraltar.
All of which posed a question to those who had long protested against the justice and worth of quotas: without them, would one of the most successful fast bowlers of all time have ever scaled such heights, paving the way for a Cape Coloured and a grandson of Indians to follow? To me there can only be one answer, and it does not contain the letters y, e or s.
I find this logic silly. Whites were discriminated against so that a few non-whites could be brought into the South African cricket team. How is that in any way moral? Just because non-whites were kept out of the team years ago, the opposite racism today somehow becomes just?
So what if these non-whites went on to perform for the team. Is the author arguing that the whites who were kept out wouldn't have brought glory to the South African team?
Does the name Kevin Pietersen ring a bell? Without the racial quota system, would one of the most talented (but white!) batsmen on Earth have left South Africa for England? To me there can only be one answer, and it does not contain the letters y, e or s.