CRICKET South Africa (CSA) is the controlling body of all activities of the game in South Africa, both amateur and professional, and for men and women. It initially operated under the name of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) which came into being on June 29, 1991, following completion of the unity process between the South African Cricket Union (SACU) and the South African Cricket Board (SACB).
The unification process was driven by the African National Congress (ANC) with the future sports minister, Steve Tshwete, and the former president of the country, Thabo Mbeki, playing particularly significant roles. It brought to an end and a process of enforced separation on racial grounds that had existed for well over a century and had prevented Krom Hendricks from becoming the first black South African to represent his country at cricket for the tour of England in 1894.
Hendricks' inclusion was vetoed by one William Milton, the president of the Western Province Cricket Association, who was also chairman of the national selection committee and was well connected in Cape Colony government circles. Hendricks had already proven himself on the England tour of 1892 when a combined Malay side was given an unofficial fixture against the tourists and the fast bowler took four wickets for 50 runs. Another player, L Samsodien, scored one of only two half-centuries on the tour against the tourists in the same match.
How different South Africa's cricket history might have been had Hendricks' inclusion been permitted. It would have provided opportunities for others, many of whose names will never be known. Basil d'Oliveira, for instance, would have been an obvious selection for South Africa in the early 1950s instead of having to wait until the 1960s to play for England. The UCB gradually devolved the operational side of the professional game to CSA and the latter name was adopted by both bodies in 2006 to avoid confusion and create a better sense of national identity.
The general council of CSA, consisting of the senior office-bearers and the presidents of the provincial unions, is the supreme policy-making body of South African cricket while the operational issues concerning the running of professional cricket are run by the board of directors of CSA (Pty) Ltd.
An important part of that policy is the transformation charter which is overseen by the transformation review committee. This document recognizes the fact that, although now all South Africans are equal under the constitution, serious inequalities still exist in terms of creating opportunities and providing facilities and adequate coaching for cricketers of colour. The transformation charter carries the responsibility of capacity building in all communities and thus making cricket the truly national game.
The highlight of the birth of the UCB was the smooth nature of the unification process in which the first two presidents, Geoff Dakin and Krish Mackerdhuj, played major roles and the subsequent acceptance as a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on July 10, 1991. That cleared the way for South Africa to participate in the 1992 World Cup and to play official international matches at both Test and ODI level. The white South African Cricket Association had been a founder member of the ICC's original predecessor, the Imperial Cricket Council, back in 1909 but their membership automatically lapsed when they left the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1961.
Since unity, South Africa has successfully run the 2003 Cricket World Cup as well as the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and produced two presidents of the ICC in Percy Sonn and Ray Mali. On the playing front South Africa has also consistently maintained high standards. For a very brief period it was rated the No 1 Test-playing country in the world and has been rated No 2 in ODI cricket for some time now.
South Africa reached the semi-final of the 1992, 1999 and 2007 World Cups.
Outstanding players of the 'new' era include Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini, who have all taken more than 300 Test wickets, while Mark Boucher is the only wicketkeeper to have made more than 400 Test match dismissals in the history of the game and Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten have re-written South Africa's batting records. Kallis is currently the game's leading all-rounder and is one of the legends of the game.
From the pre-unity era the names of Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Mike Procter and Aubrey Faulkner are among those revered around the world. We will never know what the likes of Eric Majola, Frank Roro, Eric Petersen and many, many others would have achieved had they been given similar opportunities. Makhaya Ntini, for instance, would never have had the chance to play cricket at all had he been part of the same generation as his parents and grandparents.
South African presidents since unity:
1991-92: Geoff Dakin; 1992-1998: Krish Mackerdhuj; 1998-2000: Ray White; 2000-2003: Percy Sonn; 2003-2007: Ray Mali; 2007 onwards: Norman Arendse
Ali Bacher; 2000 onwards: Gerald Majola
1991: Clive Rice; 1992-1994: Kepler Wessels; 1994-2000: Hansie Cronje; 2000-2003: Shaun Pollock; 2003 onwards: Graeme Smith
National coaches: 1991-1994:
Mike Procter; 1994-1999: Bob Woolmer; 1999-2002: Graeme Ford; 2002-2004: Eric Simons; 2004-2005: Ray Jennings; 2005 onwards: Mickey Arthur