Cricket South Africa described the comprehensive restructuring around the national men’s team as bringing cricket “into line with best practice in professional sport”.
It’s certainly a different structure, and is one utilised especially in club football in Europe, and one that SA Rugby has tried to implement around the Springboks.
CSA are advertising the positions of Director of Cricket and Team Manager, both of whom, ultimately, will be answerable to chief executive Thabang Moroe.
The strategies that will be drawn up in the coming months and years – especially those pertaining to the next ODI World Cup in 2023 – and the performances of the various national teams will all eventually be the responsibility of Moroe.
It is a lot to have on one man’s plate, especially as that plate is already full.
He will need plans for overcoming CSA’s forecast debt of R654 million, trying to make the Mzansi Super League profitable, and of course getting negotiations started about a new broadcast rights deal, which will go some way towards alleviating the financial constraints the governing body currently faces.
SA Rugby have attempted to utilise a similar structure to the one CSA are seeking to build, although a variety of circumstances – mostly a lack of time related to this year’s World Cup – has seen them ask Rassie Erasmus to add the Springbok head coaching position to his primary role, that of Director of Rugby on a temporary basis.
In some respects, Corrie van Zyl will be doing that now for CSA as he takes on the acting Director of Cricket role, while applicants for the position are assessed.
He will make all decisions related to cricket operations until the position is filled.
In addition, he and Moroe will appoint a management team, selection panel and captain for the tour to India.
In the long term, a Director of Cricket, while answerable to Moroe, will also need to be an independent thinker, one with a vast knowledge of coaching methods across a variety of sport, but most centrally cricket.
The permanent Director of Cricket for CSA would most likely want to be at the forefront of the appointment of the new team manager, as that person will be directly involved in implementing the broader strategies of the Director of Cricket.
There are several examples where this sought of structure has worked, but just as many where it has failed.
And the key part, obviously, is to hire the right people.
Moroe can ill-afford for this to fail, for if that happens, the buck ultimately stops with him.@shockerhess