JOHANNESBURG - Courier company RAM delivered for Cricket South Africa at the last minute, helping the organisation to restore some face in the midst of a difficult period for the sporting body.
That it should be RAM coming to Cricket SA’s rescue is hugely ironic given that the company’s name was attached to the local T20 franchise competition when the event was immersed in a match-fixing scandal which led to bannings and suspensions for seven players including a few prominent former Proteas.
However the company has seen past that drama and have also chosen to ignore the current controversy enveloping the game in the wake of the 11th hour postponement of the T20 Global League, to throw its name behind the domestic T20 Challenge, thereby reigniting the RamSlam.
“They came to us and we thought, ‘why not?’ it was a great brand,” said managing director Graeme Lazarus.
The 2015/16 tournament - the last one in which RAM was involved - became clouded in a match-fixing scandal which saw Gulam Bodi, Thami Tsolekile, Alviro Petersen, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Jean Symes, Pumelela Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati all banned from the game for periods of between two and 20 years for their involvement in attempting to fix portions of matches in the competition that season.
With CSA under enormous pressure now as a set of internal audits take place following its failure to deliver the much-publicised T20 Global League, RAM has come to the rescue.
“Listen there is always baggage, however Cricket SA dealt with it correctly and took people out of the system as quickly as they could,” Lazarus said about the match-fixing scandal.
RAM’s deal with CSA is just for the 2017/18 competition, although the federation’s acting CEO Thabang Moroe is hopeful of extending that deal.
The tournament kicks off on Friday night in Port Elizabeth with last season’s runners-up the Warriors facing the Knights. On Sunday, SuperSport Park in Centurion will host a double-header starting with the Cape Cobras playing against the Dolphins, and the defending champions the Titans taking on the Highveld Lions.
As it stands all the contracted Proteas - barring those who are injured - are available for their franchises.
Meanwhile Moroe is hopeful that the two internal audits currently taking place following the failure to deliver the T20GL will be completed by mid-November.
“We’ve got two independent companies looking into our affairs, from a governance and operations point of view. As far as the inquiry is concerned, once all the reports, which are independent, are put in front of the Board, the Board will then have a look at what they are saying, and if the reports point out to the Board having to go the independent inquiry route, the Board will surely make that decision,” said Moroe.