Kallis elaborates stand on SA political ruling

Jacques Kallis, South Africa's distinguished allrounder, elaborated on his point of view regarding his country's political ruling that punished its cricket board, among other sports bodies, for not meeting 'transformation' targets.

Jacques Kallis: "We need to give opportunities. But only as long as the reasons are correct."   -  Reuters

Days after a tweet in which he said that he was “embarrassed to call himself a South African” and subsequently clarifying that it wasn’t “anti-transformation but against political bullying,” distinguished allrounder Jacques Kallis presented a much milder self of his and a more balanced view at a promotional event here on Monday.

His original tweet was in response to the South African sports minister’s ruling which suspended the national associations of athletics, cricket, netball and the rugby union from bidding for major international events as they had not met transformation targets.

Transformation is how the South African government describes affirmative action taken to move from what was once a whites-only society, with everybody else treated as second-class citizens, to something much more representative of the country’s demographics.

Select when ready

“We understand that as a country we are a bit unique,” he said. “We need to give opportunities. But only as long as the reasons are correct. We have produced many a coloured cricketer whom we are proud of. Like Makhaya Ntini. Now Kagiso Rabada is coming up. But there have also been cases when players have been selected when they weren’t ready. This in the end pushes their own careers back.”

While transformation may be a historical necessity – for decades South African teams were whites-only and played against whites-only teams – it has resulted in an exodus of talented cricketers. England’s Kevin Pietersen is probably the most notable of names.

“At the end of the day, cricket is a business,” Kallis said. “And every cricketer decides what’s more important to him – whether to stay back or move abroad. Yes, we have lost a lot of players. It’s sad. We need to make sure that our talent is retained. It’s tough no doubt. But we need to somehow [find a way].”

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