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OPINION: From Proteas to Amateas – Cricket South Africa have cheapened the brand

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You can’t even call the team currently playing in the first Test a ‘B’ team, because they aren’t even the next-in-liners, writes Dudley Carstens.

Heavy defeat: SA lost by 281 runs in NZ. Picture: @Blackcaps

For the first time in, like, forever, I’m actually glad our time zone and that of New Zealand’s differ night and day. Literally.

I remember back in the day waking up in the dark to watch South African rugby matches in the Land of the Long White Cloud. I woke up excited.

This past week, though, I’m over the moon that I am getting some shut-eye while our Proteas, or should I say ‘Amateas’, are getting the pak slae of a lifetime against Kane Williamson and his pelle.

I feel for the players, really I do, but it serves Cricket South Africa right for not being able to plan around their international schedule and taking the “Pro” out of Proteas and replacing it with “Ama-teur”.

Slap in the face: Shukri Conrad. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the decision to send a rest-of XI to represent the country in a Test series while you are pulling in millions in the SA20 certainly means South African cricket was sold out.

This whole series is a smack in the face of Shukri Conrad and what he is trying to do with the Test team. Not only that, it’s a smack in the face of their opposition.

The thing is, if you don’t respect yourself, how do you expect others to respect you?And that question should be answered by whoever made the call to have the SA20 at the same time as the Kiwi series and then also not having the country’s best players playing in the local tournament.

CSA Chairman: Lawson Naidoo. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

You can’t even call the team currently playing in the first Test a ‘B’ team, because they aren’t even the next-in-liners. Most of the guys in New Zealand are guys who didn’t make any of the teams in the SA20.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has to step in here and demand answers from our country. I’m not sure where the blame is going to be shifted to, but I suggest they start asking questions at the top – looks like Lawson Naidoo is the chairperson and Pholetsi Moseki the CEO nowadays.

It’s because of this situation that I loved how, when he arrived in Cape Town for the SA20, England’s Liam Livingstone made it abundantly clear that his country comes before franchise cricket.

Country BOY: Liam Livingstone

Livingstone said: “England comes first – we obviously see our calendar at the start of the year and see where we have gaps and if we feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to go away and play franchise cricket, then we’ll do that.

If we feel like we need a rest and it’s gonna hinder our international cricket then we’ll probably have a rest. At the start of the year you try and work out where you can play and where you can go.”

That sort of pride and passion flows from the top and I reckon the CSA board is miles behind the England and Wales board.

Imagine this: the Springboks are playing the All Blacks in a Test series in New Zealand. But the South African Rugby Union (Saru) is prioritising the United Rugby Championship (URC) or the Champions Cup or whatever tournament.

The Stormers, Bulls, Lions and Sharks are all involved and therefore coach Rassie Erasmus can only pick players from the rest of the unions guys not playing in Europe.That’s the rugby equivalent of what is happening in New 
Zealand. Do we really care that little for cricket that money trumps the national flag?

As it were, the Amateas took the field with no fewer than six players out of the XI making their debuts in the first Test and were beaten by 281 runs.

I feel for the team led by Neil Brand because it’s not the players’ fault that they’ve been thrown in the deep end and individually all of them could possibly have shone had they been given a fair chance with some experienced players around them.

But CSA made the Test jumper cheap and left a bitter taste in the mouth of yours truly.

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