Former cricketer Ashwell Prince has called South Africa’s system “broken” and claimed that several national team players faced racial abuse on a tour of Australia in 2005.
The former batsman, who has also led South Africa in a few matches, added that they were urged to continue playing regardless.
In a Twitter thread, “100% inspired by Michael Holding,” Prince wrote: “Some Proteas fans might have been shocked and disappointed by what they’ve read on social-media this week. Truth be told, well at least for the 10 years that I’d spent there, there had never been any UNITY! Australia 2005, a number of us encountered racist incidents on the boundary.
“When we brought this to the attention of the leadership at lunch, we were told, ‘ah it’s only some people in the crowd, not the majority, let’s get back out there’,” he added.
The incident Prince referred to occurred during the first Test of the 2005-6 tour in Perth. Prince, former pacer Makhaya Ntini and Garnett Kruger were among the players of colour in that South African team.
The 44-year-old, who played 66 Tests, 52 ODIs and one T20I for the Proteas, shared his views on the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of African-American George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer.
“The system is broken and has been for some time in our beloved SA, both in society and in sport. We return from isolation and we say to the world, ‘look at us, we’re back, oh by the way, there’s still no black people who can play the game, but we brought a few along’,” he tweeted.
“How’s it all going to fix itself, I don’t have the answers. BUT IT WILL REQUIRE TOUGH HONEST UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATION,” Prince stressed.
“…I could go on forever, but this is not a rant. 100% inspired by Michael Holding.”
Earlier this week, Lungi Ngidi called for the South African team to “make a stand like the rest of the world” over BLM.
While Cricket South Africa supported Ngidi’s stand, it prompted criticism from former international players including Boeta Dippenaar and Pat Symcox.
CSA’s acting CEO Jacques Faul had said in a statement, “Black Lives Matter. It is as simple as that. As a national sporting body representing more than 56 million South Africans and with the privileged position of owning a platform as large as we do, it is of vital importance that we use our voice to educate and listen to others on topics involving all forms of discrimination.”
On the first day of the opening Test between England and West Indies, West Indies pace great Michael Holding had given a heart-wrenching speech on racism.