‘No Equal Opportunities’: Ex-Star’s Big Claim Against South Africa Cricket Board

As an active international cricketer, Brian McMillan tried his hand at teaching Afrikaans and science in school, and discovered he was good at it. Then, disillusioned with the “politics” in South African cricket administration, McMillan decided to stay away from the game after his retirement as a player, and chose to join his family business instead. There too, he tasted success, as the all-rounder par excellence of his time evolved into an epitome of versatility outside of cricket.

In between, there was also the small matter of completing an MBA course and working with companies like Canon.

For seven years since South Africa’s return to international cricket, McMillan was a big part of the team: a mean third seamer, who was quicker than expected, a very useful batter, and a fielder with bucket-like hands that pouched anything coming his way in the slip cordon.

He was the glue that held the Proteas team before the phenomenon called Jacques Kallis happened to South African cricket.

However, over the years McMillan has stayed away from the ground and South African cricket establishment, concentrating on his family business while keeping a tab on cricketing developments on TV.

“Fortunately, I have my family business and we are into finance, telecom, printers and production machines. When I was playing, I had worked for companies like cannon,” the 60- year-old told PTI in an exclusive interview, sitting in his sprawling office in Aztec Park area.

“I did my MBA after cricket and before that taught Afrikaans and science in school to supplement my income while I was playing.” With his all-round skills, he would have been sought-after in IPL but he simply said “it is what it is.” “Before me Clive Rice, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards and Mike Proctor could have made money,” he said.

But why doesn’t he go to the ground or associate himself with CSA? “I don’t go to the ground as it is too political for me and I have my viewpoints on that. I really love the game and I have my view points on that,” McMillan said.

“I follow the IPL quite closely and there are a lot of youngsters coming through. Fortunately, for India, they have got an extremely good side and it was really surprising that they didn’t win the World Cup,” he said.

McMillan did have his issues with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and his contrarian view points didn’t earn him friends.

“I certainly don’t believe in their selection policies. BLM I don’t believe in. It’s a Marxist thing. I believe all lives matter, how people interpreted it in this country… they didn’t have any knowledge to what BLM stood for,” he said.

“You can have your own viewpoints, doesn’t really matter, entitled to their view points but I don’t support it because if BLM falls in category of ‘All Lives Matter’ then I am okay… colour, culture and creed.

“It’s a case of equal opportunities, and hence, I don’t support SA cricket as I don’t believe there’s equal opportunities,” he was straight in his assessment.

So does he feel Temba Bavuma isn’t the right choice for South Africa’s captaincy? “You ask me to make a statement that’s unfair. If you look at whole side, if you say everyone is selected on merit, I would say no.

“Temba has had a good run and they (CSA) have shifted him here and there and couple of injuries. Whether he’s good enough to play for the side, you need to look at all sides around world and see how they performed,” he added.

What irks McMillan is the fact that people have quit international cricket over the years to turn professionals either to play T20 leagues or county cricket.

“I find it crazy that some people have to go across border to earn their keeps, I don’t see there’s equal opportunities and I would speak out strongly about that. So that’s why I don’t get involved with South African cricket,” he seemed a bit angry.

Memories of Hero Cup and ‘Muscles Raju’

During his playing career, McMillan had many memorable on-field battles with India and friendships that he still savours.

There are two matches that fans won’t forget.

Once when Sachin Tendulkar stopped him from scoring the winning runs in the Hero Cup semifinal in 1993 and then when the Indian great got out off his delivery after scoring an epic 169 at Newlands, the second instance remembered more for a back-pedalling Adam Bacher taking a one-handed stunner.

“Little maestro… Got along really well with him and remembered that catch taken by Adam Bacher at the boundary and it was a flat wicket where we also got some runs,” he recollected.

About the Hero Cup game, he laughed.

“He took a single off fifth ball and four were needed off last ball. Just one of those things. I had good times in India and I have lot of mates.” There was one picture from the 1990s which would have become viral in this day and age: McMillan, standing tall at 6 feet 4 inch, hugging a wiry, barely 5 and half feet tall Venkatapathy Raju.

It was McMillan who had nicknamed Raju ‘Muscles’.

“Muscles Raju, a very good cricketer and very good mate of mine. Same series (1996), I think Salil Ankola came and WV Raman.

“We did quite well against India and got to know them quite well, 30 years later we still keep in touch and Muscles was a wonderful fellow.”

Virat Kohli and India respect Test cricket

CSA is sending a second-string Test team to New Zealand with seven uncapped players and an untested skipper.

Hypothetically speaking, would you have skipped Tests for playing T20s? “I hope modern players are making enough money otherwise it’s very difficult to do business,” said McMillan.

“It is very hard on players. One of our guys (Heinrich Klaasen) retired now and will obviously play in T20 league and I have got my views on how countries should run its players in essence. People make a name on essence.

“I think it’s a world feel that you have to give priority to one’s country and I think India has been doing it quite well. You finding Kohli and boys playing Test cricket is great.

“You don’t find them putting out Test to play BBL. Test cricket will be threatened, but I suppose, it will remain the ultimate game,” he opined.

‘Hansiegate’ was slap on our faces

In death, people learn to forgive others and move on. McMillan had done the same with late former Proteas skipper Hansie Cronje, whose admission to fixing games during his time rocked the cricket world.

“Bottomline, we were approached several times and we all know that we turned down those nonsense (proposals). When it came out that Hansie was involved in It, it was like slap in the face,” he didn’t mince words.

“He (Cronje) was making a lot of money in our back, point is that it did happen and we live and learn. It is what it is. People making money on the sidelines and if they feel money is more important than integrity, then it’s their call.” But with Cronje’s death, everything was forgiven.

“As I said everybody needs to make decisions and you are answerable for everything you have done and I don’t hate him for that as he was a wonderful captain and cricketer.

“If he was alive today, I will still chat with him. There are no grudges,” he smiled.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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