Cricket South Africa's interim board have temporarily suspended new transformation targets imposed on national teams which would have required them to field seven players of colour, including a minimum of three black African players, by the 2022-23 season. The message was communicated to team management on Thursday and is effective immediately, and board will deliberate on the best way to ensure representation at its next few meetings
That means that, for now, the South African team is required to stick to the old target, calculated on average over the course of a season, which asks them to field a minimum of six players of colour, of which two are black African. They had begun the international season under instruction to increase that to three black African players - which they stuck to in all three T20s against England although they fell short of the overall players of colour requirement - but can now revert to two black African players if they decide to.
"The documents regarding transformation by the previous board are held in abeyance until the interim board is able to apply to its mind. We have asked that be communicated to [director of cricket] Graeme Smith, [selector convenor] Victor Mpitsang and [head coach] Mark Boucher," Judith February, a member of the interim board, told ESPNcricinfo.
The interim board had, up to this point, not had the opportunity to address transformation targets as it continues to work through the forensic report which was used to fire former CEO Thabang Moroe. The report also implicates company secretary Welsh Gwaza, who has since been suspended. Gwaza was a permanent invitee on every CSA committee, including the transformation one, although it is not known how much influence he had on the new targets, which were presented to South Africa's sports minister Nathi Mthethwa by former independent board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, who has since resigned.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo earlier this week the new targets would require 25% of the national team to be made up of black African players (up from 18% until the end of last season). Next season, 2021-22, the percentage is set to increase to 27%, and in the 2022-23 season it would sit at 33%. The number of players of colour required overall sits at 58% now, and is set to increase to 63% by 2022-23.
While the percentages do not always equate exactly to a set number of players, it meant that, this season, South Africa needed to field between six and seven players of colour in a team, of which at least three would have to be black African more often than not. Though the targets were not made public, they were evident in practice, when Anrich Nortje missed out on the first T20. With Kagiso Rabada ruled out of the ODIs, the target could have proved difficult to maintain.
The interim board has not set a timeframe when they will pronounce on new targets, though they are only expected to be in their positions for three months, ending in January 2021. That means things could change again for the national team during the course of this season. It also remains to be seen how the ministry, who have previously criticised CSA's transformation record, will receive new targets.
Mthethwa has given the interim board the scope to "have no holy cows" in doing as much as it can to stabilise CSA, and has described them as "a group of people who would know what to do".