JOHANNESBURG - Farhaan Behardien tweeted the following yesterday afternoon: “The decisions of 8 people has potentially cost 100’s if not 1000’s of people their jobs within cricket in our country. From ground staff, coaches, administrators, cleaners, security and the players. I am shocked, perplexed, angry, all of the emotions (sic) !!”
Behardien has been among the most criticised players to have donned a Proteas shirt. He batted in a very unenviable spot in the limited overs teams – the ‘finisher’. It’s a position where the margins are fine, where the difference between being a hero and a villain is very narrow.
Behardien accepted the torrent of criticism that came his way, with enormous grace. He never shirked his responsibilities and is one of the smartest and most articulate players in South Africa.
And he is angry. And he is absolutely right to be. This fiasco at Cricket South Africa has carried on for far too long. The organisation’s Members Council has had many opportunities to fix it and refused to do so.
The Council has, as the Interim Board chair, Dr. Stavros Nicolaou put it on Thursday, hidden behind facades – like Sascoc – and attempts to tweak the language in the proposed Memorandum of Incorporation. The Council – or at least the eight presidents; five who voted to retain the status quo and the three who incredibly, given what is at stake for the sport, abstained from voting – have dragged out a process for months, that should have taken weeks to complete.
And now CSA is on the brink of losing its status as the governing authority for the sport in this country. Sponsors won’t want to be associated with an organisation that has angered the government, and commercial deals attached to backing the Proteas are likely to be null and void if the Proteas aren’t recognised as the representative team of the country.
The knock-on effects of that would be ghastly. Jobs could be lost, not just players, but coaches, grounds staff, and officials. Children, those that have the means, once they’re old enough will take their talents elsewhere, and those that don’t have the ability to move overseas, may take up another sport, or be lost to cricket in some other way.
But the Members Council don’t seem to care. Each president gets in the region of R400 000 a year, a scandalous amount for people who just sit around a boardroom table and owe their very existence to the deeds of the likes of Behardien on the field of play.
They claim in their statement last Tuesday to be working for the good of cricket, but if cricket is no longer there, then is that genuinely the case? The answer is an emphatic, No.
It is perplexing. It will, like Behardien tweeted, leave you angry, emotional and shocked. It is sad that Behardien and so many others should share those sentiments, but not the Members Council.