Thu, Feb 23, 2017 | updated 12:31 PM IST

'Will never pick player based on colour', insists Linda Zondi

Updated: Nov 30, 2016 18:24 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], Nov. 30 (ANI): Linda Zondi, South Africa convener of selectors, has asserted that he would "never" pick a player based on the colour of his skin but on the basis of merit only.

"For me, as a convener, I will never pick a player based on colour," he was quoted as saying by Sport24. "I will pick a player based on his ability to represent our country. I will never accept mediocrity."

"The country wants us to do well and to transform and to win matches ... I'm very happy with the talent that we have and we just want to maintain the high standards we have when picking players," he added.

According to the Proteas convener of selectors, the domestic structures in the country are succeeding in widening the pool of black cricketers who are being given opportunities to grow.

Cricket South Africa (CSA), ahead of the 2014/15 domestic season in the country, had already ruled out that each franchise would have to field five players of colour (two black Africans) in every match they played across all formats throughout the season.

In the upcoming season, i.e. 2015/16, this number was increased to six players of colour (three black Africans)

Reflecting on the same, Zondi said they have been drawing a lot of flak before in terms of people criticising their franchise system and transformation.

"We backed the system and the players that we had and fortunately we had some world class players. It became a natural thing," he said.

The cricket board has also decided that the players would not be measured on a match-to-match basis, but rather on an annual average across all three formats.

Speaking about the advantage of the rule, the 40-year-old said, "The board has been very strategic in terms of giving us an annual target and not a match-to-match target, which gives us more room when selecting players."

"It's important to know that ... just because the team is losing, it shouldn't be about transformation. And if the team is winning, it also shouldn't be about an individual," he added.

Zondi further insisted that they are not looking at colour, but at the player.

These comments come in the wake of the political pressure which is there on South Africa's national sporting teams, and has now reached a new level ever since sports minister Fikile Mbalula banned CSA, SA Rugby, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Netball South Africa (NSA) from bidding for major events back in April due to a lack of transformation.

The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks, have been given the target of ensuring that their squad is made up of 50 percent players of colour by the 2019 World Cup, while the Proteas committed to ensuring that 53 percent of their side (six players) will be players of colour moving forward. (ANI)

Sevilla [Spain], Feb.23 (ANI): Jamie Vardy gave Leicester City an away goal and kept alive their hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League despite a narrow 1-2 defeat at the hands of the Sevilla in the first leg of the last-16 tie here on Thursday.

Full Story >>

Valencia [Spain], Feb.23 (ANI): Two goals in the first nine minutes allowed Valencia record a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in their La Liga clash at Mestalla Stadium here last evening.

Full Story >>

Lucknow [India], Feb.23 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Wizards stormed into the semi- finals of the ongoing Hockey India League (HIL) after settling to a sensational 4-4 draw against Dabang Mumbai here at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium last evening.

Full Story >>

Pune [India], Feb. 23 (ANI): Australia have won the toss and asked India to bowl first in the opening Test of the four-match series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium here on Thursday.

Full Story >>

Pune [India], Feb. 23 (ANI): The much anticipated four-match Test series between India and Australia will begin today, here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium.

Full Story >>

Johannesburg [South Africa], Feb. 22 (ANI): World No. 2 Angelique Kerber defeated Monica Puig of Puerto Rican in straight sets in the round of 16 clash of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday to move a step closer to return to the number one ranking.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 22 (ANI): Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Wednesday announced that the first Gramin Khel Mahotsav will be held from 25th to 31st of next month in New Delhi.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb. 22 (ANI): Out of favour Pakistani batsman Ahmed Shehzad, who is desperate to make a comeback to the national team, has vowed to perform "better than before" on his return to international cricket.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 22 (ANI): The French Tennis Federation (FFT), organizers of the French Open, in association with All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Wednesday announced the much awaited third Indian edition of Rendez-Vous a Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb. 22 (ANI): Sharjeel Khan, the Pakistani batsman, who has been suspended over charges of match fixing in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), has insisted that he is innocent and has done nothing that would malign his country.

Full Story >>

Adelaide [Australia], Feb. 22 (ANI): Leg-spinner Adam Zampa and all-rounder James Faulkner came out with a splendid display of bowling performance as Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 41 runs in the final T20 of the three-match series here at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

Full Story >>

Melbourne [Australia], Feb. 22 (ANI): Former Australian skipper Steve Smith has called on the Steve Smith-led side to be cautious while indulging in verbal battle against Indian captain Virat Kohli in the four-match Test series starting Thursday at Pune.

Full Story >>

Pune [India], Feb. 22 (ANI): Australian skipper Steve Smith has admitted that his team, whose performance has not been up to standards in the recent past, are the 'underdogs' in the four-match Test series against India starting Thursday.

Full Story >>

London [U.K], Feb.22 (ANI): Former England pacer Ryan Sidebottom has announced that he will bid adieu to cricket after the 2017 English season, thus bringing an end to his illustrious 20-year career.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.22 (ANI): The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Abhijit Sarkar as it's new Vice Chairman and also the Chairman of the AHF Commercial and TV Committee with immediate effect.

Full Story >>

Not fair to compare me with Kohli: Umar Akmal

Updated: Feb 22, 2017 15:27 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb.22 (ANI): Playing down his comparison with Virat Kohli, middle-order Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal believes it is absolutely unfair to liken him with the Indian skipper since they both bat at different numbers.

Full Story >>

Pune [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Riding on the euphoria of a fairytale 19-match unbeaten streak, Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday insisted that his side is not bothering about Australia's recent form and is rather focusing on their own strength in the four-match series beginning tomorrow at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium.

Full Story >>

Christchurch [New Zealand], Feb.22 (ANI): Veteran batsman Ross Taylor struck a blistering century before bowlers came to the fore as New Zealand grabbed a narrow six-run win over South Africa in the second ODI of the five-match series at the Hagley Oval here on Wednesday.

Full Story >>

Talat Ali tipped for Pakistan manager role

Updated: Feb 22, 2017 11:33 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb.22 (ANI): If reports are to be believed, former Test batsman Talat Ali could be the next manager of the Pakistan team which will tour West Indies next month.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb.22 (ANI): After being missed out on earning a contract from Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises in the auction ahead of its 10th season, veteran all-rounder Irfan Pathan penned an emotional letter to his fans and followers.

Full Story >>