Kaymo’s Korner: Parochial SA fans are why we don’t get tournaments

2013-07-07 14:00

As South Africans, we may feel hard done by over the International Cricket Council (ICC) decision not to give South Africa any tournaments from next year until 2022, when we will host the Women’s T20 World Cup.

South Africa may have the best climate and the perfect time zone, but that’s not good enough in the greater scheme of things.

The Proteas are not like Bafana Bafana, who require hosting rights for tournament participation. As a (choking) cricket superpower, they cannot be subjected to a qualifying process.

We need to be honest with ourselves though. The South African cricket fan does not associate with other teams very well.

It is not something limited to cricket. Rugby and soccer have their own attendance issues. The recently concluded quadrangular rugby series did not see packed stadiums and not even the All Blacks could fill FNB Stadium.

We may accuse other nations of being fickle, but when it comes to parochialism, if there were a competition for it, South Africa would comfortably take the prize.

When South Africa hosted ICC tournaments, fans didn’t rock up at matches. It also didn’t help that the host nation couldn’t progress.

In the past three ICC tournaments we hosted, South Africa never made it into a knockout round. Juxtapose this with India, who have never failed to get into semifinals when hosting, with the exception of the 2006 Champions Trophy.

India’s cricketing fervour cannot be matched away, and it’s even less surprising that they perform well at home.

In the 1996 World Cup semifinal in Calcutta, Bengalis blew their gasket in the face of a galling collapse, and bottles and fire were their preferred choice of stress release. But since that fateful March night, they have been well-behaved.

Thanks to our rather laid-back nature, a collective spewing anger of that nature is not something I think will be witnessed.

But television bosses do not want to see their products beaming empty seats around the world either.

Bang for their buck is not what South Africa and the West Indies give, hence their exclusion from hosting ICC events. Not even having two successive South African-born ICC chief executives has helped.

With England and India getting the largest slice of the hosting pie, it is also worth knowing they are cricket’s biggest TV market and the respective boards are not afraid to throw money around.

Not that Cricket SA doesn’t have any greenbacks, but they lack the former’s ability to market and sell out games.

Not all was perfect with the recently terminated Champions Trophy and the 2011 World Cup, but crowd attendances were far more positive than the two previous World Cups combined.

Not all tournaments have to be dependent on Indo-Pakistan clashes, but for one to succeed in South Africa, that game is a prerequisite.

» khanyiso.tshwaku@citypress.co.za

» Follow me on Twitter @kaymorizm

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