DURBAN – In the end, it wasn’t his frosty relations with India and the BCCI, not the match-fixing saga, or even complications from transformation that ended Haroon Lorgat’s tenure as the boss of cricket in South Africa.
Ultimately, it was an obsession with a new venture that is drawing ever closer, even if big matters around it appear further and further away.
Even before a ball has been bowled, the T20 Global League has already taken its casualties.
The biggest, thus far, is Lorgat, a man who seemed to have adopted the tournament as his personal mission, his coup de grace in a colourful career in cricket administration.
He was everything and everywhere, concerning himself with every last detail, not content to delegate even a portion to the rest of the team.
Seemingly, he started to take liberties and making executive decisions, and the dinner, drinks and negotiation bills stacked up as rapidly as totals during a Powerplay.
Lorgat is not the first man who has been seduced by the power and the potential of a flashy, new tournament.
South Africans are very familiar with a man by the name of Lalit Modi, who was the “The Don” in the early days of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
He promised the world, and when that promised looked like faltering, he cut financial and administrative corners that were always going to come back and bite him.
He was so determined to make his product look the part that he was ready to ‘rent a crowd’ to fill the empty stands when the IPL came to South Africa back in 2009. He threw money at every problem.
Modi eventually walked away from all cricket last month, still licking his wounds and saying what could have been.
Few men walk away quietly from these things, because the numbers involved are equal parts dizzying and destructive.
Lorgat’s Waterloo, as it transpires, is the not-so-insignificant matter of a broadcast deal. A month away from the big show, and a partner is still a no-show.
Lorgat has been zipping between South Africa and the Middle East as a matter of urgency of late, desperate to deliver the one bit of good news that would have salvaged his job – and perhaps his reputation.
Already, Cricket South Africa’s relationship with SuperSport has been compromised by the dealings over the T20 Global League.
It is not an alliance that they would want to fiddle with too much, considering the shambles that is the national broadcaster when it comes to showing cricket to the public.
Lorgat, whether by design or dismay, marooned himself by the manner in which the broadcasting rights procedure has gone.
He constantly maintained that everything was under control, and those who were suggesting otherwise were simply mischievous media with an agenda. It turns out that the smoke above him was due to the fire around him.
Losing a key player in a new venture, just a month before the launch, hardly fills investors with confidence, and Cricket South Africa now have just five weeks to restore order – and confidence – in a product that appears to be finding trouble at every turn.
Despite coming into power during an especially tricky period for South African cricket, Lorgat’s legacy will now be defined not by the things he did, but by the deals he couldn’t close.