South Africa: It's Very Difficult to 'Be Different' When You Play the Gentlemen's Game


The recent exposure of systemic racism in Yorkshire cricket, as well as harrowing stories of discrimination during South Africa's own inquest into racism in cricket, underlines the sport's problem with all forms of diversity.

West Indian cricketer Tino Best tells a story about Hashim Amla. In 2007, both men were part of a contingent that travelled to Wales to play in a charity tournament. At the dinner that followed the afternoon matches, Amla found himself seated at a table beside a cricketer who enjoyed his alcohol. No one would have minded if the player just enjoyed his wine or whatever he was drinking.

"Just have one sip, it won't hurt you," the player repeatedly said to Amla for the better part of the night. Each time the player accosted him, Amla responded as all who have watched him over the years have come to expect, with humility and respect: "Sir, I don't drink. Thank you, but, no, I don't drink."

But it wasn't enough for Amla to politely decline the drink and the player kept insisting, trying to get him to break his religious beliefs and take a sip "to fit in". Drinking is part of cricket culture and so-called...

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