Clear leadership is needed
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So, that’s two court cases now for Cricket South Africa.
This country’s players have taken the organisation to court over the restructuring of the domestic competitions, with a specific emphasis on the reasons for CSA’s cost cutting measures and how those will impact on the number of professional contracts in the country.
Then, last weekend, the Western Province Cricket Association lodged an urgent application with the Johannesburg High Court to “immediately interdict (CSA) from implementing or executing upon what WPCA considers to be an unlawful decision taken by CSA to exercise step in rights in respect of WPCA.”
Three weeks ago, Cricket SA suspended the WPCA’s Board and appointed the union’s former chief executive Prof Andre Odendaal as an administrator to run the union’s affairs.
Cricket SA’s chief executive Thabang Moroe then also raised eyebrows by stating that Newlands might not host the New Year’s Test against England because of construction taking place at the ground.
Fortunately for all involved, the match will go ahead at its traditional home.
But that little episode caused far more angst than it should have.
What is concerning for CSA, however, is that it is facing one court case at all, let alone two at a time when its finances have been under scrutiny and the national teams - men’s, women’s and Under-19s - are all struggling.
The problems with the various national teams - particularly the senior men’s group, which is still the primary source of income for CSA - have many questioning the short and long-term future of the sport and whether the right leadership is running the game in the country.
The men’s senior team, in particular, is the face of the sport in this country.
If that team is doing well, then it generally helps to mask any other problems in the game.
Right now it isn’t and as a result many of Cricket SA’s troubles have bubbled to the surface.
This week Moroe pleaded for patience as regards the men’s Proteas outfit. He is right in that it is largely a young and inexperienced side that is in the midst of a difficult transition.
But Moroe has also made himself a central figure in managing that transition process and it has largely been done badly. He needs to get the Director of Cricket appointed, something Moroe has stated he wants done by the end of the month.
And that person needs to be a big personality, with an in-depth knowledge of the game, especially at international level and the changing trends in the sport.
Cricket SA’s top administrative level is devoid of that kind of expertise at present and that Director needs to be given the room to implement ideas that will reinvigorate all the national teams.
South African cricket has gone through transitions before, but it’s unusual that changes are taking place simultaneously at administrative and playing level. It gives off a sense of chaos.
Having the players and a major provincial affiliate seek input from the courts, really isn’t a good look for South African cricket. Some honest and clear leadership needs to be shown, at what is a very delicate time for the sport in this country.