How Cricket South Africa can fix the ailing Proteas
CAPE TOWN – The Proteas endured a horrid tour of India. Cricket writer Zaahier Adams suggests remedies for the way forward.
1. Review the domestic structure
There are plans afoot to shake up the domestic game with the current six franchises set to be disbanded to accommodate 12 provincial unions. Although the idea of expansion has been mooted since 2008 already, it seems set to be implemented for the 2020-21 season. In essence more has never been better, especially with the Proteas having enjoyed their most successful period in Test cricket after the six franchises were introduced.
The only way it can be successful is if the leagues are divided into two sections, with promotion and relegation between the respective leagues being implemented. There has to be consequence for poor performances and players need to be accountable for their actions. At the moment a poor season is being rewarded with another contract the following year. The extra provinces - i.e. opportunities - will allow transformation to prosper organically.
2. Kolpak should not be a death sentence
I have always been one of the most critical voices denouncing Kolpak cricketers. Not because of their pursuit to earn a living elsewhere - that’s their right and any self-deserving Players Association would agree - but rather for the need to have bread buttered both sides when returning to South Africa in search of employment at the expense of a young cricketer trying to navigate a route to play for the Proteas.
However, when the domestic structure changes, there will be sufficient opportunity for the Kolpaks to return and plough their experience back into the domestic game and guide the young players, which will in turn benefit the Proteas.
3. Director of Cricket
It is imperative that CSA nail down this position - and soon! There is plenty uncertainty surrounding the national team currently with the entire team management occupying interim positions. This doesn’t fill anyone with confidence in terms of long-term planning. It is most likely that CSA will make an “in-house” appointment with acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl set to fill the post.
The country is crying out for a former player in the mould of Graeme Smith to take the position, but this is unlikely due to the permanent nature of the position and the financial resources required to get Smith’s services on a full-time basis.
4. Involve more former players
The belief that it is easy to get former players on board is often skewed due to the former player’s reputation with the public. However, it is not as straightforward due to commentary commitments, while short stints with T20 franchises are also more lucrative and easier to manage from a time away from home perspective. Saying all of that, CSA still needs to find a way, for the Proteas would be far better served to have someone like Hashim Amla working as the batting consultant on this past tour of India in a green tracksuit than him sharing his insight with the nation in the Randburg studios clad in suit and tie.
5. Give Faf some clarity
The issue surrounding Faf du Plessis’ leadership is doing a great disservice to one of the country’s finest ever captains. Either give Du Plessis the assurances he requires or give him the golden handshake and thank him for his fine services.
The uncertainty is not doing the skipper any good for he appeared unsure of his role in India. It is not doing the team or the individual any good at all.@ZaahierAdams