Something rotten in state of KZN cricket

2014-08-15 00:00

IT’S hard to understand the administrative workings of Dolphins cricket. The franchise cries out for performance, for something to happen, to be recognised as a major force in the domestic set-up.

A long, hard road is travelled to achieve success, yet when it comes, the foundations are moved and the empire crumbles once more.

Cases in point are losing Hashim Amla to the Cobras and now, not renewing CEO Jesse Chellan’s five-year contract which expires in September.

According to Chellan, a board decision was made some time ago, but the announcement was only made official to the staff at Kingsmead on Wednesday.

“While I respect the board’s decision, I have asked for clarity as to the reason behind the move, but to date, nothing has been forthcoming,” he said.

Chellan left the business world to step into the position in October 2009 and, at the board’s request, has agreed to stay an extra three months until the end of December.

“It was a five-year contract and was due for renewal now in September. Yes, I am disappointed, but what has been decided will remain. I step down in the knowledge that I have made significant progress in the years I have been at Kingsmead.”

When he arrived in 2009, Chellan quickly homed in on homegrown cricket talent with particular emphasis on development cricket, while drawing future players from school and club levels.

“We have done well in using local talent and the township tournament we have speaks volumes for exposing raw talent to the game,” said Chellan. “We have drafted some of our U19 stars into the senior and amateur teams and financially, we are sound, with unqualified audits and nothing owing to SARS.”

Chairman of the board, Graham Abrahams, acknowledged Chellan’s contribution, saying, “Jesse’s success with the franchise is plain to see. His youth strategy is paying dividends and the operation is in better shape than when he arrived.”

On the decision, he said, “Cricket has entered a new era with particular challenges. The board believes it is time for new energy and fresh ideas to meet these challenges.”

Easy to say and the remaining question is, what are the challenges? General chatter around Kingsmead turns toward winning more trophies, becoming the best franchise in the country and attracting top players.

Looking at last season, it appears the Dolphins are on the right track, yet major boardroom decisions are made to ruin a good thing. It’s akin to a business retrenching staff when its making a mint.

It’s not quite cricket season yet, but a black cloud is hanging over Kingsmead scheduled to bring more than just rain. Alluding to Shakespeare, who wrote in Hamlet that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, there appears to be more than just a stink at the hallowed cricket ground.

KZNCU president Fa-eez Jaffer provides this contradictory statement: “I must commend Jesse for his hard work and loyalty. One of his legacies is growing the game in non-traditional areas and harnessing the talent. The results will be seen in years to come.”

If loyalty and success maketh a man in the commercial world, why cut him down. If all is as it should be, why look for something new?

As for Chellan, he said he would look at the global cricket market as a possibility to find further employment. “At this stage, I don’t have a job,” he said.

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