Phangiso says he's still counting the costs of his limited playing opportunities with the Proteas

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Aaron Phangiso of the Lions during a T20 match against the Warriors on February 27 2021 at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban.
Aaron Phangiso of the Lions during a T20 match against the Warriors on February 27 2021 at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Aaron Phangiso, the former spinner who took 46 wickets in 37 white-ball matches in a six-year career as a Proteas limited-overs player, said he deserved to play far more matches than he did and that the deprivation of playing opportunities set him back financially.

The Ga-Rarankuwa born left-arm spinner was part of three World Cup campaigns with the Proteas between 2012 and 2018 but was only limited to 21 ODIs and 16 T20 international matches.

He was giving testimony at the public hearings of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) transformation inquiry, which were established to investigate racial discrimination within the organisation, and to recommend remedial action.

“I’m touching on financial implications of opportunity missed. There are so many things that the public don’t know that happens when it comes to salaries or payment of players in the Proteas,” said the Lions' all-time leading wicket taker.

“Firstly you get a normal start-up contract, and that is where I have been during my Proteas career, and when you play for Proteas, game time is important because you get your match fees.

“Every game you played per 50-over game, you got your R25,000, and every game you T20 played you got, if I remember, R12,500.

“So having gone to all of those tours, and you miss out on so many games, I was involved with the Proteas for five to six years, you look at the amount of games I have played, about 21 ODIs and 16 T20s, you can imagine how many games one has missed.

The now 37-year-old Phangiso, who only played two matches in three World Cup campaigns with the Proteas, said the lack of game time deprived him the opportunity to be noticed for tournaments such as the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Financially, I believe that it is not just about opportunities on the field, and it was not only CSA money that one was deprived of.

“The more Phangiso plays in [or during a tour of India], if given a chance in those [spinning] conditions, there is the biggest tournament in India called IPL.

“If I play two games, out of the four round robin games that we were playing at World Cup, and I get one man of the match [in one match], who is to say, if I was given that proper opportunity, I was not going to do better than that.

“That takes away the opportunity to be seen by all the other nations like the IPL. The IPL is a life changer. You do well there people will pick you up.

“There are a lot of guys [whose lives were changed] by that league. We all know what happened to Chris Morris. Those are the kind of things I am taking about.”

Morris was recently secured for R32.8m at the IPL 2021 player auction.

“It is not just not playing, you play and do well, you get recognitions and get opportunities [around the world] to make that extra money.

“At the end of the day, we do love the game, and everyone can say we play for the love of the game. But we invest so much in this game, we also want to see something out it.

“I’m a little bit lucky with the little that I got, I was able to help my family but there are so many guys who did not get the same opportunities as me, and they are still struggling.

“Financially, I missed out and CSA could have looked at this.”

- TimesLIVE