“There are enough players of colour (in South Africa) that are playing on absolute merit in their starting line-up,” said Mickey Arthur Getty Images

Adelaide: Nov 19, 2012

Former Proteas and now Australia coach, Mickey Arthur, said that the racism issue in South Africa’s cricket setup is a thing of the past. Arthur was reacting to suggestions that racism still exists in South African cricket thanks to the quota system.

There is a quota for four players of colour in South Africa s national and domestic teams. The Proteas had five coloured players during the first Test against Australia in Brisbane and is likely to have four in Adelaide, sans JP Duminy. There have been calls to push Thami Tsolekile, the only black African in South Africa s 16-man squad, to replace Duminy and take over the wicket-keeper s gloves from AB de Villiers.

There is even a rumour that Arthur lost his coaching job with the Proteas following his decision to drop fast bowler Makhaya Ntini from the squad, who wasn t performing to his best.

However, Arthur said that that the colour issue wasn t relevant any more. “I genuinely feel the South African cricket team has gone past all that now,” Arthur told, when asked about the race issue. “They re in a really good place as a unit and a team.

“There are enough players of colour that are playing on absolute merit in their starting line-up. I honestly don t think it is a massive issue.

“Yes, there are always checks and balances in place. There is a target system. I had those targets we had to meet but I had really good men around me.

“The system is producing enough players of all colours to make that quota system almost irrelevant at the moment.”

Asked whether the quota system was prominent in the country, Arthur said, “Yes, it was always there, and sometimes it was a throwaway line when someone got left out but I honestly don t see it as a massive issue any more.

“When you ve got a dressing room full of different races, religions and cultures it s a volatile pot,” said Arthur.

Arthur said that the quota system added a competitive edge to the team selection and galvanized the nation. “When I was in South Africa, we used that as our competitive edge and I m pretty sure they re doing it at the moment,” he said.

“The competitive edge of combining all those races into one team makes South Africa a very good cricket side.It galvanised the team; it galvanised the nation.

“You had the white English-speaking South African who is quite structured, knows what he wants but is laid back. You have the white Afrikaans guy who is really driven, determined, very disciplined in his approach. You have the wristiness and the flair of the Asian players, who see that with Hashim Amla. You have the fantastic athleticism of the African Black,” he said.

Praising the ability of the coloured players and the first black man to play for the Proteas, Arthur said, “Makhaya Ntini was absolutely awesome in terms of his athletic ability and coloured players have unbelievable skill in a very laid back way, (and) possess a lot of flair.”