Johannesburg – A senior official of a cricket association which has grown increasingly close to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, was chatting to a South African counterpart recently about scheduling, among other things.
Suddenly the official from the foreign association said to his South African mate: “So what it’s like being part of the most dysfunctional cricket organisation in the world? Hahahaha.”
The South African provided a witty response – which is not for publication in a family newspaper unfortunately – but the exchange spoke to the growing loneliness Cricket South Africa is feeling as concerns grow over the possible cancellation of India’s year end tour to South Africa.
Haroon Lorgat’s poor relationship with certain senior officials in the BCCI, may yet prove more costly to Cricket SA and the game in general in this country. In July when he was unveiled as CSA’s new chief executive, the organisation’s president, Chris Nenzani, said the following: “We made it clear to them (the BCCI) that we would not ‘undermine your concerns, we would not ignore the concerns’ but we would be in a position to look into this matter and see how best the interests of CSA would be addressed and take decisions guided by what CSA’s interests were.”
Lorgat’s appointment certainly fulfils those criteria given the difficult period South African cricket went through following the hosting of the Indian Premier League here in 2009 (back in the day when CSA and the BCCI were bosom buddies).
However, given the depth of the ill-feeling from some BCCI officials towards Lorgat it could be argued that his appointment goes against the best interests of the game in South Africa.
The BCCI, because of its vast financial power, has the ability to destroy the game in this country. As one cricket administrator put it to me recently: “Development is finished. That pipeline (the CSA High Performance managers) keep talking about, that will be gone also.”
It already seems likely the year end tour, if not cancelled, will be severely curtailed. The long-term effects of the financial hit CSA will take – estimated to be in the region of R150-R200-million, won’t kick in for a few years, but when it does, cricket in South Africa is in big trouble.
One of the problems for CSA now is, they can’t be seen to be bowing to the whims of a foreign organisation. Stick with Lorgat and watch their finances crumble and South African cricket becomes a bit-part player on the world stage. Buy out Lorgat’s contract, and they look weak to the rest of the world – and the South African public – which will only serve to confirm the BCCI as cricket’s great dictator.