IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
You know when you are driving and the oncoming traffic flash their lights to warn you that there is something amiss ahead? You don’t know if it’s an accident on a blind-spot, or if it is the men in khaki hiding behind a bush with a not-so-selfie stick.

Proceed with caution, then, but what you do with that heads-up is completely up to you.

As we sit and wait, there is a very awkward pothole looming for South African cricket. Everyone, including the drivers of the lucrative bus, knows that the brown stuff will most likely hit the fan soon, but they are trying their best to carry on as usual.

The lights have been flashed by those who have seen this kind of thing before, and some are even blaring their horns and waving their arms as if drowning in dread.

At some point, all the warnings and near misses will come to an end and there will be carnage.

As certain as taxes and crumbles to spin on the sub-continent, the T20 Global League stand-off will escalate from press release posturing into a full-on drama. This screenplay evolves by the week, having started as a rom-com - with the misguided hope of a happy ending - then slowly turning into a goofy comedy with an about-turn.

And then came the horror. We are now at the drama stage and the only certainty is that someone, at some stage, will have to take the fall. In the movies, someone usually has to die. In real life, or unreal T20 competitions, the stakes are not quite as severe. But they are still pretty high.

We all thought the exit of Haroon Lorgat might be the resolution and that things would get back on the road towards happily ever after.

But wait, there has been infinitely more.

The broadcasters that were initially put out have been appeased, but that compromise has seen owners who stuck around in good faith left high and relatively dry. Those same, now disgruntled franchise owners flood media emails on a weekly basis, venting their dismay at the latest developments in their not so joint “venture”. These owners, with good reason, will not let this whole affair die a quick death. They are invested now, emotionally and financially, and they refuse to go quietly into the T20 night. A business proposition of serious potential has turned into a matter of principle. Where there once were thousands of dollars flung about in good faith, not a single quarter is being spared now. The petty cash has now become just that; very petty.

It will soon get ugly, real ugly - like court and front page headlines ugly, even. All the places that cricket hates to find itself because, well, it’s just not cricket.

Just how Cricket SA handle this building PR hellfire will be very telling. One fire was quelled in the lounge, but the kitchen and bedroom are now engulfed in blunder flames. CSA, meanwhile, is sitting in the bathroom, hoping to high water that the furnace will somehow die down and they can go on with their long-awaited show.

This was supposed to be the cash cow that allowed them to comfortably break from the fickle shackles of Indian lucre and egos. This was supposed to be the emancipation of a generation of South African cricketers, a shot of adrenalin in the arm of a sport that is still desperately trying to seduce a bigger share of the population.

Far from sweet nothings, however, there has been sweet bugger all to draw in this new audience. They have RSVP’d for a party that keeps on being postponed, with the venue and headline act changing by the month.

It is looking like the mother of all car crashes and despite all of the flashing lights, the powers that be seem unable to slam on the brakes on this runaway bus. Passengers, buckle up and brace yourselves.


Sunday Tribune

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