“It allows me to focus on the operations of the company; it allows the Director of Cricket to focus on the national teams and our structures. It empowers the Director of Cricket to sit with the Team Director (coach) and say, ‘here is your team, do with it as you please, and I will hold you accountable’. The Director of Cricket will let the Team Director know what he is looking for.”
Thabang Moroe, Cricket South Africa’s chief executive, does have a lot in his in-box. A great many of those items can be marked “urgent”.
So if this new structure around the national men’s team does allow him to, as he put it, “focus on the operations of the company”, then that is very good, because if some of those operations go wrong, then the risk to cricket in this country is enormous.
Moroe is showing great courage in taking so much responsibility on his shoulders, but as he holds the Director of Cricket responsible for all matters related to team affairs,so is he accountable to Cricket SA’s 11-member Board of Directors. These are critical times for CSA and mistakes, much like for a player in a Test match, can’t be afforded.
Moroe has placed himself at the centre of Cricket SA. And among those items to be marked ‘urgent’ in his in-box are: Forecast debt of R654 million (maybe even R1 billion if the SA Cricketers Association’s maths is right), restructuring the domestic game, rebuilding the Proteas post the World Cup, creating a plan for the 2023 World Cup - important but not urgent right now - and a new broadcast deal to bring in much-needed funds. And that last item should be in bold caps in his in-box.
What about re-building the relationship with Saca? Perhaps for Moroe not as urgent as some of those other folders, after all he doesn’t believe there’s been a breakdown in the federation’s relationship with the players' union. The players' union of course don’t see it that way. They’ve filed court papers expressing their frustration. Who knows what dirty laundry could be aired in front of a judge?
And it most definitely is Moroe’s responsibility to deal with all those issues. He said so last week. “We ... took most of the responsibilities that used to lie with the Board, those responsibilities will now be passed to me as chief executive,” said Moroe.
So the Board of Directors - four of whom are independent i.e. not attached to any provincial affiliate - are going to let Moroe get on with his job. Their job is to hold him to account. So if Moroe doesn’t lower that forecast debt, he could be fired. If the restructuring of the domestic game - should it go ahead in the manner Moroe has been pointing out - doesn’t bear the kind of financial fruit or improvement in playing standard that he’s promised, he could be fired.
If a new broadcast deal isn’t signed, he could definitely be fired.
And if this Proteas restructuring goes haywire, again, that could be a fireable offense. However, would the Board take such a significant step? Firing a CEO is a big deal.
Gerald Majola illicitly took bonuses and the Board of Directors in charge of CSA in 2009 did nothing to stop him.
Afterwards a lot of them claimed they were unaware of what he was up to. The Board of Directors 10 years ago let a sham internal inquiry take place under their noses and Majola stayed on as CEO. It took then Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to set up a Commission of Enquiry, chaired by a High Court judge, to make findings that ordered Cricket SA to set up an independent inquiry and three years after the first reports of nefarious goings on were reported, was Majola removed.
That’s not to say that right now, Moroe is up to anything illegal. No proof has been proffered in that regard.
But there are similarities with 2009 that the 2019 Board of Directors should consider and that has got to do with allowing the CEO too much power and too much leeway. That the Director of Cricket should report to the CEO and not the Board seems strange. It becomes worrying when set against the information contained in the leaked internal documents unveiled last week in which Moroe attempted to usurp control over team selection and had to be reined in by the Board, after questions were raised by former Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson.
Of course Cricket SA has targets it needs to achieve, but the Board knows that and the Board can hold the selectors accountable for that. What those internal correspondences also show is that Moroe, despite all the big talk last week, is maybe not the hotshot he purports to be. The fact that he singularly failed to ensure that three crucial members of South Africa’s World Cup-bound squad returned to SA early from the IPL to rest and recuperate as part of preparations for the tournament, would indicate someone who is either incapable of negotiating with peers in the BCCI or is afraid to do so.
The appointment of a Director of Cricket is a step in the right direction. But the Board of Directors should stipulate that the person in that position report to them.