We all know how South Africa was reeling under the apartheid from 1948 to 1994 due to British colonization. Color bias was ruling the country dividing in to two.  Even schools had different curriculums for black majority aiming to groom them as labor class.
The country could finally see light of civilized society in the year 1994 after a prolonged war between black and white. South Africa became a republic. But the transition to change has to take its own time. Even now petty unpleasant incidents do occur as part of side effects of apartheid for such a long span of time.

The divided rule in the country had to create social and economic imbalance between white and black. Cricket as sports was primarily played by the affluent white. Hence the representation in the national team was white majority. The South African cricket authorities rightly decided to introduce what is called a “quota system” reserving a minimum colored representation in the South African national cricket team.

When we look in to this policy in a broader perspective, we reach out to the priorities of the South African society at large. The priorities of bonding the society, of integrating it, interwoven in a way so that it gives it back to the country in the long run. If it is so, how can cricket be secluded from such accruing benefits?

Undoubtedly, sports icons influence the society more particularly the youth. When a colored player shines in the national team or even play for it; it is bound to motivate people of that category to play the game. When both colored and white players play together in a team, the integration has to take place slowly but steadily.

The target transformation policy as it is formally called is a quota system was first introduced in the year 1998 after a few years on the end of apartheid. There have been some instances of bitterness on implementation of this policy. The policy was highly criticized in the year 2002 on the eve of Sydney test when Jacques Rudolf, a highly talented white batsman, was dropped paving the way for colored player Justin Ontong. The present England captain Kevin Pietersen had decided to leave the country of his origin for England due to this quota system in the selection process. In March, 2008; Andre Nel went public on his scathing criticism on being dropped from the touring squad to India.

But the South African cricket authorities struck to their gun for the larger interest of the society. During the Rudolf incident the CSA made it very clear that the fight for racial equality is more important than sports. White Players of the stature even of Shaun Pollock had realized the need for the system. Shaun Pollock had said “we are a special case and the quota system was introduced to deal with this”.

The results of the system implementation are vividly visible today. A number of non-white players are ranked amongst the best in the World. It has seen players like Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince and Hashim Amla are ranked among the best in the World.

The quota system was definitely not designed to continue for ever. It was purely need based. Hence a statement has rightly come out of Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive Gerald Majola recently which goes like this:

”We have decided to continue with the target transformation policy for the next three years, with a review at the end of each year. At the end of three years we hope we can then move to merit-based selection across the board.”

The game of cricket has been playing a major role in improving diplomatic ties between the two nuclear powered neighbors in the subcontinent India and Pakistan. Let’s hope South Africa as a country prospers with equality of opportunity without any class in the society and cricket plays a big role in achieving that.