Standing up: Cricketer Lungi Ngidi shows his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: AFP via Getty/Christiaan Kotze
Standing up: Cricketer Lungi Ngidi shows his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: AFP via Getty/Christiaan Kotze

No-one remembers the name of the book Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov wrote. Sure, everyone remembers the dog that, after a lot of training, drooled every time it heard a bell, which meant dinner was coming.

But the book? Anyone?

It was called Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex. Not a title that trips easily off the tongue, but one that, having learnt (maybe with the help of a bell), you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.

The response from certain former players to Proteas cricketer Lungi Ngidi’s call for cricket to stand with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was a textbook case of conditioned reflexes.

A (black) cricketer says it’s time for cricket, its governing body — Cricket SA — and sport generally to support the movement making the walls tremble in cities around the world. The reflex from (white) former Proteas players Boeta Dippenaar and Pat Symcox is straight out of the Pavlovian handbook. Dippenaar’s grumpy Facebook post that BLM has become "nothing more than a leftist political movement" ended with him lecturing Ngidi for not taking a stand on farm murders: "All lives matter. If you want me to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, Lungi, then stand shoulder to shoulder with me with regards to farm attacks." Symcox called Ngidi’s stance "nonsense" and a "dog and pony show with cricket being dragged through the mud".

You can just see the admonishing finger emoji castigating Ngidi for not picking every cause that cries out for the protection of human life.

Just because Ngidi has called on the sport to stand with the BLM movement doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about white farmers being murdered.

Logic, the batsman, was bowled out for a duck.