JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa can count their lucky stars they have such friendly commercial backers.
Actually what’s more likely is that Cricket SA should be grateful to their players - amongst the best in the world - for they remain a very attractive option for brands.
That courier company RAM could come on board - at the eleventh hour as Thabang Moroe, CSA’s acting CEO, put it - is indicative of the star attractions that exist in South African cricket.
RAM ignored the current controversy clouding CSA in the wake of their failure to launch the T20 Global League to re-establish the RamSlam. On top of that, RAM’s name was on the competition two seasons back when the tournament was enmeshed in a match-fixing scandal.
Brands don’t like drama such as that, for it sullies their names just by association, but RAM have diplomatically chosen to look past that too - instead MD Graeme Lazarus praised CSA for their efficient handling of that situation and the manner in which punishments were dished out.
RAM are putting their name back in South African cricket because of AB de Villiers, Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma et al. And it is to those players that Cricket SA will look to help them save face further aftera messy few months.
The players in attendance at the launch of the RamSlam this week all spoke eloquently about their disappointment that the T20GL had to be postponed.
“The disappointment is always going to be there and hopefully in years to come a tournament with that stature can come to our shores. But unfortunately that’s out of our control and we need to focus on what’s in front of us,” said Cobras skipper JP Duminy.
Chris Morris expressed sympathy for non-international players, who missed out on what would have been a significant pay packet: “I’m quite gutted actually. The international guys already play in big tournaments elsewhere, but for the domestic players this was a big chance, so my disappointment is for them missing out.”
It's up to the players to make the RamSlam work, and the presence of all the Proteas certainly makes for an attractive product that will hopefully see many spectators pour into stadia. South African cricket needs the RamSlam to produce matches that can help distract from the controversy regarding the failed T20 GL.
Cricket SA is hoping that the internal audits currently on the go will be wrapped up by the end of the month at the latest at which point their Board of Directors will decide whether to have an independent inquiry.
So the RamSlam will hopefully draw some attention to exploits on the field - afterall that’s what most people really care about.