Editorial | Proteas can finally play the ball, not games

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Hugh Page. Picture: Lee Warren / Gallo Images
Hugh Page. Picture: Lee Warren / Gallo Images

VOICES


South African cricket has been seeing stars and hearing crickets of late, with controversies making headlines, while the players have had little to no time on the field.

The crux of governance issues laid bare in the 457-page Fundudzi forensic report released this week was a step towards righting that naughty Cricket SA (CSA).

Active players making media statements as a collective are rare, but the Proteas have released two in three months.

The first was in September, when 30 men and women from the national teams chastised the game’s leaders for taking the organisation “from crisis to crisis over the past year”.

Their “demand” was simple: make South African cricket “strong” – from the Proteas all the way to the transformation pipeline. There was even a hint of a threat that some of our heroes might take their skills to more lucrative locales.

It’s time to pack up the pen and paper – unless Duckworth, Lewis and Stern have to be consulted – and focus solely on the bat, ball and stump.

This demand was met, to some extent, with interim board member Judith February eloquently saying this week: “We are on track now … we are making progress; taking the elephant and eating it one chunk at a time.”

The second statement from the Proteas men’s side – via CSA’s media machine, minutes after the release of the forensic report, was a little weird.

“We ask ... the media not [to] threaten the journey we have embarked on, the trust we have built and the work we are doing by sowing contention around our decision.”

Read: Proteas backed against England despite playing little cricket

That decision was in the team not taking the knee.

Though powerful, in that we finally got some clarity on what the players are thinking, this is not their job. And they acknowledged that, saying: “Our first job is to play cricket for the country.”

We couldn’t agree more – the focus should be building this new team culture of “belonging, empathy and respect”.

It’s time to pack up the pen and paper – unless Duckworth, Lewis and Stern have to be consulted – and focus solely on the bat, ball and stump.


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