Johannesburg – I’ve never particularly liked sports administrators. For the most part, they forget why they’re administering a sport. In very simple terms, the job is about facilitating the growth, development and sustainability of the sport for which they’re responsible.
Many sports administrators, especially in South Africa, don’t get that. And this week it would appear to be the case in India too.
The controversy surrounding the Indian cricket side’s year-end tour to this country – an extremely lucrative one – should never have been allowed to get to the current ‘completely in melt down’ phase. By yesterday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India were suggesting (according to reports in India) that they would go so far as to cancel the tour, and invite Pakistan or Sri Lanka to tour India instead.
We can criticise cricketers for a great many things; bad form, an ill-judged shot, a dropped catch or a bad spell of bowling; we can see them do it, review why they did it and pore over the super-slomos.
But administrators who can’t sort out a tour? What to do with them?
The BCCI seem to claim Cricket SA acted in bad faith by not consulting with them before releasing the tour schedule in July. That’s not entirely true – in fact some in Cricket SA have called it a bare-faced lie. Cricket SA have documented evidence (ie: a lot of emails) outlining the correspondence between the two boards leading to what CSA understood to be an “agreement” about the schedule.
The BCCI, although they’ve not said so publicly, are clearly angry that CSA ignored their ‘concerns’ and still went ahead and appointed Haroon Lorgat, with whom they disagreed on several occasions when he held the top job at the International Cricket Council, as CEO. This is payback.
The trouble is, it’s the supporters who suffer. And when administrators start taking for granted the supporters, that’s when a sport starts running into trouble. If no one watches, sponsors and TV turn their backs.
Sure the BCCI have acted in a most pathetic manner by seeking to shorten a tour that has long been on the books, but CSA haven’t helped themselves by maintaining a kind of diplomatic silence since India chose to outline the schedule involving the West Indies, New Zealand and England.
There may be work going on behind the scenes, but CSA should have taken the public into their confidence and said what they’re doing to salvage particularly the Test portion of the tour.
Rebuilding CSA’s image will take a long time. Having a tour by a major nation at the height of the summer severely curtailed, because they can’t reach agreement with another group of administrators, won’t help to redeem that image.