CSA’s communication skills are so bad as to be non-existent, says cricket writer Stuart Hess. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
CSA’s communication skills are so bad as to be non-existent, says cricket writer Stuart Hess. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Cricket SA are embarrassing themselves

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Nov 29, 2019

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“What we have here is... failure to communicate.” That’s a line from Cool Hand Luke that in a way sums up Cricket South Africa right now.

CSA’s communication skills are so bad as to be non-existent. They don’t know how to communicate with the South African public - the most important entity in the game in this country - nor do they know how to communicate with the players and they don’t know how to communicate with each other, whether it be the staff at CSA or the administrators.

That CSA’s head of media and communications Thamie Mthembu doesn’t deem the South African public worthy of knowing who will pick the Proteas team that will take the field against England in four weeks time is disgraceful.

Right now there exists within CSA two cultures - one of fear among staff who’ve been threatened should they talk to anyone outside of CSA about the organisation, and another culture of bewildering arrogance among some senior officials and some administrators which is summed up by the interview Mthembu did with Independent Media this week.

It is a state of affairs one former senior Proteas player described to me as “embarrassing” and he only used that word because he was at a loss for anything else.

But it is embarrassing. The Proteas players are about to face one of the most high profile series of their careers, and they don’t know if they will be picked and who will pick them.

CSA has often in the last decade appeared dysfunctional; certainly it was at a very low ebb administratively during the Nicholson Commission of Enquiry that originated because of the “bonus scandal”. But it’s never looked this bad. I’ve written in this space before and I’ll repeat it today: Change is URGENTLY required within Cricket SA’s administration.

Meanwhile, someone who certainly didn’t suffer a failure to communicate his message this week was Chris Gayle.

The “Universe Boss” departed the Mzansi Super League amidst a fury of fours and sixes and a verbal swipe at his critics.

Gayle wanted people to put some “respect on his name”. He did not appreciate being made to feel that he was a burden on his MSL team, the Jozi Stars. He was forthright and certainly provided a much-needed distraction from all of CSA’s problems.

However, it was also a bit rich of Gayle to throw his franchise and teammates under the bus. A look at some statistics underscores Gayle’s “value” to the Stars on the field - in 10 matches across the two editions of the MSL, he’s scored a total of 144 runs. Sunday’s 54 off 27 balls was his highest score.

So sure, maybe this year’s MSL hasn’t been as enjoyable for Gayle as last year’s brief experience. But it wasn’t enjoyable for us either.

Posing in the club is cool, rocking some stylish threads is alright, but there’s cricket to be played and Gayle was paid handsomely to play it, and he didn’t do that properly.


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