Cricket South Africa to host culture camp to promote unity
South African cricket is set to host a culture camp this week amidst claims of racial bias in the country’s cricketing environment. The camp which is scheduled to be based out of Kruger National Park is expected to focus on the team's identity and environment and outline performance goals.
The backdrop to the camp involves a slew of racial allegations by former players Ashwell Prince and Makhaya Ntini, and more recently, current player Thami Tsolekile.
Former South African captain, and current Director of Cricket for South Africa, Graeme Smith, under whose tenure most of these allegations have come about, is also expected to be in attendance. Until now, Smith has maintained his innocence owing to unawareness, expressing surprise at such stories, but has also committed to bringing about change. Graeme Smith was part of the previous such camp as well in 2010 out of which the slogan “Protea Fire” was born and has become synonymous with the team’s identity. It was also seen as a symbol of unity at the time. Lungi Ngidi was the first among the current crop of South African cricketers to begin a conversation on the Black Lives Matter movement. Ngidi’s call to support the movement garnered 31 responses from players in the South African setup, and the “taking the knee” gesture was observed during the 3TC game. The stories about racial discrimination that trickled out in the aftermath saw CSA spring into action in addressing the issue and have since seen the governing body set up a Social justice and nation-building (SJN) committee.
The culture camp is expected to have issues such as unity to be discussed on the agenda. “We felt it was important for guys to come together to engage on some of the critical issues around the team elements that we feel needs attention," said Khomotso Volvo Masubelele, the team manager in a statement released by CSA late on Saturday afternoon. " What we are going to be focusing on is matters around team identity, team environment, the performance measures, and models we want to put in place for the seasons to come and really for the guys to be able to come with a blueprint that they will be able to own, understand and something that resonates with them."
The players who will be a part of the camp include : Aiden Markram, Andile Phehlukwayo, Anrich Nortje, Beuran Hendricks, Bjorn Fortuin, Daryn Dupavillon, David Miller, Dean Elgar, Dwaine Pretorius, George Linde, Glenton Stuurman, Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, Jon-Jon Smuts, Junior Dala, Kagiso Rabada, Keegan Petersen, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Verryenne, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Pieter Malan, Pite Van Biljon, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hendricks, Rudi Second, Senuran Muthusamy, Sisanda Magala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Temba Bavuma, Zubayr Hamza.Faf du Plessis is expected to miss the camp with the imminent birth of his second child, while Theunis De Bruyne will miss the camp due to family reasons.