South Africa’s cricket problems start at the top
JOHANNESBURG – There is no quick fix for the Proteas men’s cricket team.
South African cricket is in trouble and it needs multiple areas fixed. To focus solely on Faf du Plessis’ captaincy, Kagiso Rabada’s bowling or Temba Bavuma’s batting, would be to ignore the fact that the national women’s team has struggled for the last two years and the national Under-19 boys team for even longer.
Yes, those players would be the first to admit they did not perform to the required standard in India. But as Du Plessis pointed out after the series on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa should have seen this coming three or four years ago.
And it’s not as if they didn’t have examples from which to draw when it came to seeing exactly what will happen without proper planning for the future. The West Indies is a shadow of the team that dominated the game for the best part of three decades. Even Australia, with its plethora of financial resources experienced a downturn in fortunes following the retirements of some of its legends in the latter stages of the 2000s.
Cricket South Africa and its leadership should not have foreseen that a group of players all ranging in ages between 33 and 36, might call it quits and do so in a relatively short space of time and had the necessary strategies in place to alleviate, partly, the problems that might cause.
However that may be asking a lot of this current crop of administrators at Cricket SA. For the most part they seem more beholden to ensuring good relations with government, making sure they stay on-side with the sports ministry rather than they are in actually running the game properly.
The organisation has had to undertake drastic belt-tightening initiatives, which have resulted in it having to face its own players in the High Court over the restructuring of the domestic programme. It is also being dragged to court by a major provincial affiliate after suspending its Board, while another big province is currently having its administration overseen by a High Court judge.
You’d hardly call Cricket SA a success, yet it awarded its president Chris Nenzani with a 12 month extension - in breach of its own constitution.
On Tuesday, hours after the Proteas were beaten in Ranchi, former player Jacques Rudolph tweeted: “I genuinely feel gutted for the Proteas players (at the moment), however, in time, a fish rots from the head down. CSA should take full responsibility for where we are as a cricketing nation now, as seen at the CWC and in India currently.”
And he is right. There are no former players or anyone with experience of playing international cricket serving at the highest levels in CSA’s administrative structures. Compare that to Australia, where former seam bowler Michael Kasprowicz serves on the board, or New Zealand which has three former internationals on its Board, heck even India has just chosen Sourav Ganguly to be president of the BCCI.
And that’s where to start fixing the Proteas and South African cricket. It starts with the leadership of the organisation that runs the sport in the country. Cricket SA needs people at administrative level who have played the game internationally, now.@shockerhess