The terminal decline of South Africa national cricket team

Today, the game of cricket is still alive only due to the contrasting play and skill offered by the top eight teams in the world.

Fans gleefully watch a proper cricketing stroke played by an Englishman and when it comes to a wristy flick played on the leg side by Virat Kohli, they watch with the same interest.

These teams in totality have kept the game alive as each side has its own ethos that never seems to be replicated by another. We all know how Pakistan’s mercurial instinct can help them come up trumps against big teams and the very next day make them fall like an associate nation.

West Indies often produce some tantalizing passages of play that mesmerize the audiences around the world but when the self-destruct button is on, they can fall and collapse like no other side.

On the other hand, the Australians pretty much can be considered the goliaths in the game of cricket as they have a rich cricketing history in terms of winning World Cups and trophies all around the world.

Although the custodians of the game, England had a fetish for Test Cricket for the longest time, alarming failures in the shorter formats turned them to a laughing stock.

The remedy for all of it was a change in mindset of English administrators to adapt to the modern template of the game pioneered by Australians and closely followed by the Indians.

The results are all there to see as the future of English cricket now looks promising.

Way down in the Southern Hemisphere in Africa, there are disconcerting times for cricket in South Africa.

Lack of Clarity in Transformation targets

The danger of transformation is bearing semblance to the train-wreck once witnessed in Zimbabwe Cricket as Mugabe policies forced a number of talented flock of white cricketers to leave the game for good.

After that fallout, we all know Zimbabwe has not regained its cricketing status of being as good a team it used to be in 1990s. The importance of policies and administration always goes hand-in-hand and any tinkering in the wrong direction can see disastrous consequences.

We all know West Indies have failed to regain their past glory only due to too much politicking in game of cricket. Pakistan could be regarded as a Siamese twin to Calypso Kings as while the lack of proper structure and administration goes under the rubble, talented bunch of emerging cricketers find a way to shine on the international stage from nowhere.

The question here, however is, is South Africa going down the same route as once Zimbabwe went in terms of their cricket?

South Africa have been known to be a competitive sporting nation and taken huge pride in producing good results for their public.

In the recent years, times have been difficult for South Africa to ensure there is transformation policy applied at the national setup.

In reality, transformation has allowed many white players to leave the country to go for better options as players like Duminy and Behardien are still persisted with in the lineup even though their struggles do not seem to end.

The transformation policy is quite confusing to be honest, because picking a player on merit should be based on performance and not on the color of his skin.

However, Kagiso Rabada has made it through the system and we should not doubt that he still would make it in the absence of such rogue policies.

Still, in the bigger picture, the recent domestic competitions saw national players hog the limelight and the first class competition also has no new faces performing consistently well.

There should be no complacency as when the likes of Steyn, Morkel, Amla and De Villiers walk down the sunset and call it quits, it won’t be easy for South African cricket to maintain their cricketing standards.

Players of such quality are produced once in a generation. The history of the game has seen the Australian side struggle from 2007 after a bundle of superstars called their time on the game. The system is the key to producing cricket players.

The recent debacle in the U-19 World Cup also saw the young South African side perform miserably as they failed to finish in the top 5 of the tournament. One has to keep the mind that the last such World Cup held in UAE was lifted by the Proteas for the first time under Aiden Markram.

The national side has also taken a sharp decline in all formats due to such vague policies. South Africa is flirting with danger as such lubricious policies could see them going down the route once Zimbabwe took and never recovered from.

The game of cricket has never discriminated a champion whether he be coming from Maharashtra in the shape of Tendulkar to a lanky fast bowler from Phalaborwa named Dale Steyn.

It’s time for the administrators to wake up or we could see few teams at the top fighting for ultimate prize as strong nations like Pakistan, West Indies nosedive in terms of performances due to an incompetent administration.

ICC needs to clamp down its authority to keep the game of cricket in a healthy state or face the consequences of another talented nation like South Africa getting plagued by rogue policies that merit no logic whatsoever in the game of cricket.

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