Lorgat gagged to please India

2013-10-23 00:00

SOUTH Africa had gagged its cricket boss and treated him “shockingly” to save the Indian cricket tour.

The tour finally got the green light yesterday, but will be limited to two Tests and three one-day international (ODI) matches.

Newlands in Cape Town will not see a Test.

CSA all but crawled to satisfy the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

It was a pre-condition of India that Haroon Lorgat, CEO of Cricket South Africa (CSA), should not in any way be involved with the series.

He may also not make any further statements on the state of cricket in India, and some of his duties as South African representative at the International Cricket Council (ICC) have also been put on ice.

CSA issued a statement late yesterday afternoon in which the president, Chris Nenzani, made it clear that Lorgat had not been suspended.

Nenzani said Lorgat had himself offered to remove himself from the series as well as the ICC’s meetings of CEOs until the completion of an investigation into his involvement in statements made by David Becker, the former head of legal affairs at the ICC.

Becker had criticised the BCCI for refusing to accept the ICC’s future tour programme.

He said it was unseemly for an ICC member to ignore the ICC’s decision so blatantly.

A CSA spokesperson last night said Lorgat will not attend meetings only during the investigation.

A senior administrator said the manner in which Lorgat had been treated was shocking and had not been done with any dignity.

“If you appoint him and believe he is the best man for the job, you must stand by him and not turn your back on him in a situation like this.”

Dr Ali Bacher, former CSA boss, said cricket was the main loser in the “this mess”.

The SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) said it was a sad day for cricket because personal vendettas off the pitch controlled what happened inside the oval.

Former Proteas fast bowler Fanie de Villiers said the large Western cricket counties — South Africa, Australia and England — must now stand together to boycott India, the “bully” of world cricket.

He said he did agree with Lorgat standing aside to make room for the tour, but he respected Lorgat for taking a stance against India.

“I feel CSA must offer him a few million to retire. The current situation is costing South Africa’s cricket a lot of money and this is unnecessary.”

His former team-mate Pat Symcox, however, said CSA had backed the wrong horse with Lorgat’s appointment and were now paying the price.

He added he did not see India as the bully in world cricket. “Someone must take ownership of world cricket and it was [India]. We, Australia and England would not have done it.”

Saca CEO Tony Irish said the decision was disappointing and a setback for the players and cricket fans of South Africa.

“CSA will suffer a huge financial loss [about R200 million] and all levels of the game will suffer.”

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