Johannesburg - There was understandably much chortling in the wake of Joe Root’s resignation as England’s Test captain last week.
It’s England, any sign of chaos there - be it the buffoon, who’s Prime Minister, that ridiculous family that stays in castles or vacancies in various important positions in their cricket structure - is good reason to laugh.
It helps us to forget our issues; no electricity, that we too have a bunch of morons in government or the fact that Cricket SA too is urgently seeking to fill crucial positions in its management structure and that the Proteas men’s head coach is facing a disciplinary process, with his bosses seeking his dismissal. It ain’t all rosy here either.
The England Cricket Board did fill one spot this week with Rob Key’s appointment as the Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket.
Key has much to do, as will Graeme Smith’s successor as CSA’s Director of Cricket. Key has to find a coach, selector and captain, while the Director of Cricket here, may well step into the position, not knowing if Mark Boucher will still be head coach of the Proteas by the time the flight leaves for England in July.
That will be a long tour for the Proteas, with the first match taking place on July 12 and the third Test finishing on September 12.
By then much will have changed for both teams. From South Africa’s perspective there are huge concerns over automatic qualification for the ODI World Cup, with the Proteas in a perilous spot on the ICC Super League table. There are certainly personnel changes needed in the One-Day team, with the seam bowling all-rounder position a particularly big worry.
The Test team is definitely a lot more stable and at the opposite end from the One-Day side as far as performance is concerned. England, whoever they pick, and whoever leads them, will provide a significant challenge. It’s worth remembering South Africa hasn’t beaten England in a Test series in 10 years and the 2022 three-match series will have a re-energised England team with a new leader and plenty of players - young and old - with a point to prove.
Neither team has been helped by its administrators in the last few years. Pholetsi Moseki’s appointment as Chief Executive was crucial in allowing CSA to attain some stability. Where there is a crucial difference is in finance; Moseki admits CSA is struggling and the lack of sponsorship is hurting that organisation. While the ECB took a battering because of Covid-19 it still has more in its coffers than CSA, allowing it more opportunity to invest in a big name coach and more drastic structural reform domestically - although The Hundred really is a rubbish idea.
Although the tour in July will come too soon to properly gauge how well the changes in both countries are working, the performances of the two teams will provide an idea of the respective paths they are on.
And if nothing else, it will give us a useful distraction from the mess the respective governments in the two countries have made recently ...