Time to celebrate now that cricket is out of lockdown hibernation
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After months of uncertainty spent in lockdown hibernation, the new domestic cricket season starts today with all six franchises in action around the country.
It is a reason to celebrate. The past winter has been one of the worst off-seasons Cricket SA has ever endured.
Not only has Cricket SA had to find a way to navigate the “new normal” due to Covid-19 and every challenge that the virus brings with it, but it has also been at the focus of a race storm that cut through the very heart of the game.
If that was not enough to contend with, Cricket SA has been embroiled in embarrassing and debilitating boardroom battles with its mother body, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), and its players’ organisation, the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca), which ultimately required Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa to step in.
It is only now that CSA’s Members Council has disbanded its previous board that cricket can begin to look towards its future with any form of confidence.
The interim board announced by Mthethwa last Friday certainly has the credentials to steer cricket’s ship back into calmer waters.
The personnel chosen are of the foremost business and legal minds in the country, and will be headed by the hugely respected Judge Zak Yacoob.
Minister Mthethwa has certainly left no stone unturned in his search, with former Special Investigating Unit deputy head Caroline Mampuru called upon and most likely to be given the core responsibility of investigating the previous board’s decisions from 2019.
Among the interim board members are also Judith February, who is a governance specialist, and chief financial officer of the Electoral Commission of South Africa, Andile Dawn Mbatha.
The calibre of “cricket people” are of the highest quality, too, with former CSA and ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, former Western Province Cricket Association chief executive and historian Andre Odendaal, plus former Cape Cobras and Highveld Lions batsman Omphile Ramela bringing their expertise to the table.
Cricket finally seems to be heading back to a place where the discussion can revert to runs scored and wickets taken.