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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
South Africa's Prince
Dr Ali Bacher
By Dr Ali Bacher
Former South Africa cricket director

Ashwell Prince
Dr Bacher says Prince carries with him a huge responsibility

The appointment of Ashwell Prince as captain of South Africa is very, very important and will be an inspiration for black men and women in this country.

There are extraordinary opportunities available for black sportsmen and women in the new democracy.

And they now know that if you've got the determination, the focus and the potential, you can make it to the top and ultimately captain your country.

Last December, former South Africa Test player Peter Pollock told me his son, all-rounder Shaun, had identified Ashwell Prince as a potential future leader.

He is highly respected within the team, focused, disciplined and a deep thinker of the game.

Shaun thought that if his batting remained consistently good by international standards, he could become the first ever black South African cricket captain.

And those words were true.

We do have problems that need to be addressed, but the political transformation in South Africa has been miraculous

What his appointment also indicates is that we are approaching the end of a period in South African cricket where there was affirmative action and quotas, which was necessary.

Ashwell Prince has been picked because he is the best leader of the national team at this particular time.

He's got an awesome task ahead of him and I hope he will rise to the occasion.

They are going to Sri Lanka and touring there is not easy, particularly when you're up against an extraordinary genius like their spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.

Also, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis are indisposed at this time.

But you watch him play and he's calm and cool under pressure and he did particularly well against the Australians last summer, and you don't get more pressure than that.

Makhaya Ntini
Makhaya Ntini is one of the world's most feared fast bowlers

South Africa is an exciting country. We do have problems that need to be addressed, like HIV Aids, crime and unemployment, but the political transformation has been miraculous.

You have to weigh the problems up against the massive gains - what this country has achieved is mind-boggling and there is a terrific future for all South Africans.

The work to redress the imbalances of the past and create new opportunities for all South Africans is never-ending.

But the transformation in South African cricket will get stronger and stronger, day by day and year by year.

I still think at this point in time the game's major achievement has been the success of Makhaya Ntini, a black African who came from the rural villages of the Border area and came to a cricket clinic bare-foot when he was 14.

A black coach, Raymond Booi, saw him bowl and immediately realised there was huge potential.

Today, he's internationally known as one of the best fast bowlers in world cricket, so we're very proud of him too.

As for Ashwell Prince, he has a huge responsibility because his appointment will enhance the support for the sport of cricket by the black people in this country.

South Africa wishes him every success for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka.


South Africa's Test captain before sporting isolation, Dr Ali Bacher was his country's foremost cricket administrator for a generation and came to prominence when he organised England's rebel tours of the 1980s.

Having realised the error of his ways, Dr Bacher presided over the coming together of the separate black and white associations in the form of the United Cricket Board after the end of apartheid.

He has campaigned tirelessly for non-white cricketers in South Africa and masterminded the organisation of the 2003 World Cup before retiring.



SEE ALSO
Smith injury paves way for Prince
11 Jul 06 |  South Africa
S Africa make Prince vice-captain
26 Jan 06 |  South Africa
Prince holds court for SA
22 Feb 02 |  Australia v South Africa


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