SA cricket dropping the ball?

2014-01-26 14:00

ICC proposal is a push to isolate CSA, which could bring a potentially worse financial drought, writes Khanyiso Tshwaku

The quarterly meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which begins on Tuesday, will hold the key to South Africa’s future in world cricket.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) – all key members of the ICC finance and commercial affairs committee – drafted a proposal that would see decision-making power and the share of resources spread only among themselves.

The chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, Tony Irish, reckoned that the BCCI had plenty to do with ramming through the proposal, especially with its financial muscle and support base across the world.

He also said that Cricket SA (CSA) could be paying the price for its transformed governance structure, which has seen a proliferation of independents.

It was current CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who in his time as ICC boss was at the forefront of the Woolf Review, which called for more independent influence in the ICC.

That was not to the BCCI’s liking. Irish said: “It is no doubt that they are the big players and nothing can be done without their approval. It will be up to the other countries to make a decision that will either benefit them or be for the benefit of world cricket, which is usually their mandate.

“CSA went through a hard time, which affected some of its relations with the other boards. However, CSA has not been scared to challenge the powers that be and their latterly good governance has made them clash with personalities. When that happens, there will be casualties.”

Lorgat was succeeded as ICC chief executive by former Proteas wicketkeeper Dave Richardson, whose silence regarding the matter has left Irish confused.

Questions were forwarded to the ICC’s media and communications team, who said Richardson was unavailable.

“The recommendations, which have been put together by a working group of the ICC’s finance and commercial affairs committee, will be discussed at the January 27-29 meeting.

“The ICC will only make a comment on this matter once the board has had the opportunity to meet and properly consider the proposals,” was all the world cricket governing body could say.

A puzzled Irish said: “His silence is deafening to say the least and the statement he sent out regarding the position of the finance and commercial affairs committee and taking the proposal to the board did not say anything.”

CSA sent a proposal to host Zimbabwe for a one-off test match ahead of the Australia series but Irish was not sure whether it was a move by CSA to get Zimbabwe Cricket on its side.

According to reports, Zimbabwe Cricket are noted BCCI people and heavily dependent on its benevolence. The domestic season in Zimbabwe has stalled because of a lack of funds.

“The thing is, Zimbabwe is in deep financial trouble and they need all the help they can get from those with big wallets,” said Irish.

“Who it will vote for is anyone’s guess but the question will be whether it will vote for its benefit or for the benefit of world cricket.” A CSA insider said should the proposal be pushed through, cricket in South Africa will be dead in two years.

CSA opposed the proposal, saying that it was “fundamentally flawed”.

“The BCCI is showing us who is boss, simple as that. Most of the other cricketing nations are broke and chances are they will back the proposal because it will suit them,” the insider said.

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