Hard slog for CSA board

2014-04-27 15:00

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More than a year has passed since Cricket SA elected a new board. Khanyiso Tshwaku examines the ups and downs since then

The year 2011 was distinctly dark for Cricket SA (CSA), with the storm surrounding Gerald Majola and the Indian Premier League looming over all aspects of the game.

It tore the organisation apart and was a time of sponsorship troubles and administrative and judicial turmoil that inevitably spilled on to the field.

Things are quite different three years on but other challenges have sprung up to replace those dramatic events of 2011.

That board, led by the charismatic Majola, steadfastly dug in their heels, refusing to accept a KPMG report that had fingered the crooked chief executive of contravening the Companies Act and helping himself to a hefty, undeclared bonus.

It was only after the intervention of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula through the Chris Nicholson commission of inquiry that Majola finally buckled and fell on his sword, catalysing a painful process that included crocodile tears, suspension and his eventual sacking on October 19 2012.

He raged against the dying of the light, disputing the expulsion and exercising all the available avenues of appeal.

But even a trip to the Labour Court did not bear fruit.

The Nicholson report recommended a five-five split of independents and non-independents to form the new board, which was elected in January last year.

While a newish broom was sweeping clean and Chris Nenzani took over as president, there were still remnants of the old guard.

More importantly, the Nicholson report was flouted and there was a seven-five split in favour of the non-independents.

It was a shift in the right direction for the beleaguered organisation as it tried to save face – but more trouble was brewing with Haroon Lorgat’s appointment as chief executive.

It soured what was a peaceful relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the point where a money-spinning Indian tour to South Africa was nearly cancelled last year.

When governance was improved, the bad apples were thrown out to the financial detriment of the organisation.

The 2013/14 financial year, which should have been CSA’s best ever since becoming a Section?21 organisation, will have slimmer pickings than previously anticipated: the reported R200?million loss because of the shortened two test, three One Day International Indian tour is not easily shrugged off.

Irrespective of what Nenzani and Lorgat do going into the future, their tenure will always be marred by the BCCI spat.

For a change, CSA were wrong for doing the right thing.

The winds of change did not spare the coach and some players, with Gary Kirsten, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith all moving aside.

Smith’s retirement came as a shock after he struggled against his bête noire, Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, during the test series in South Africa.

Poignantly, Smith’s career ended where it all began: at his beloved Newlands in Cape Town against Australia, where he scored three, just as he did in his 2002 debut.

Even though Smith might never have been a willing partner, whatever ties South African cricket had with Majola were finally severed.

A new leaf will be turned when the Proteas tour Sri Lanka for the first time in eight years under a new test captain.

The rescheduled test series exposed South Africa’s lack of negotiating nous but also how long-format cricket is slowly losing its appeal in Sri Lanka.

Then there was the usual failure at an ICC event shoehorned into the period, even though the semifinal loss to India during the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh was due to tactical deficiencies rather than choking.

Progress has been minimal, with no African representation in the test team – but cricketing life is better now than it was in 2011.

One has to wonder what the next three years will bring.

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