South African domestic cricket in a crisis

I have followed, supported and professionally administrated domestic cricket for more than fifty years and can quite honestly say I have never seen the standard or following as bad as it has been during the current season. The public support for the domestic game is literally non-existent. Years ago on the return to international cricket, it was accepted that the first-class game was a method of development for international cricket. The support had dwindled then already but the following through the media was still healthy. The standard of cricket was excellent and the first-class system developed many very good players for South Africa. Today the standard of first-class cricket is no better than Premier League cricket in years gone by. The poor standard must be a threat to South African cricket’s international sustainability. With regard to the white-ball competitions, they have deteriorated beyond recognition; there is literally no support in … Continue reading

Improving domestic cricket in South Africa

The 2019 county season in England started last week.  Once again it is striking to note the staggering contribution made to county cricket by players who can potentially play for South Africa. Taking into account all Kolpak players, players born in South Africa and players with at least one South African parent (like Dawid Malan and Rikki Wessels), a rough count reveals that at least 43 can potentially play for South Africa.  The number is well over 50 if one includes all the South Africans who will ply their trade In England over the course of the season as overseas professional players. About a quarter of the 43 are Kolpak players.  For reasons of international politics, Australian players cannot sign as Kolpak players.  However, it is still interesting to note that only 15 county contracted players were born in Australia – significantly less than the South Africans even without the … Continue reading

Australia serious Cricket World Cup contenders

Australia won the 2015 Cricket World Cup (CWC) in Australasia when they easily beat New Zealand in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. However, since that success they have encountered many problems with the banning of David Warner and Steve Smith for ball tampering in Newlands Test against South Africa. Also, their One Day International cricket has been an embarrassment to the four times CWC winning nation. There has also been a change of national coach with Justin Langer replacing Darren Lehman. At times Langer must have wondered what he had let himself in for with the dismal performances of the Australian team in England, Zimbabwe and a home loss to South Africa. Slowly the fortunes of the Australian team have changed. Their tour of India where they won both the ODI and T20 series is proof of this. Recently they also beat Pakistan 5/0 in the United Arab … Continue reading

‘Sandpapergate’ still rankles

There has been something distinctly distasteful about the recent re-integration into the cricketing world of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. The ‘sandpapergate’ saga is well-documented.  For the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that Smith and Warner were banned for twelve months, and Bancroft for nine.  The bans kicked in on 29 March 2018, meaning Bancroft could resume playing on 29 December 2018 and Smith and Warner today, 29 March 2019. First, an aside.  The application of the bans was always irksome.  Especially Smith and Warner were always trying to bend the rules of the bans.  Astonishingly (or perhaps not..?), Cricket Australia (CA) sometimes relented, for example allowing the pair to play in last year’s inaugural Canadian Premier League.  At some stage there was even talk of Smith playing county cricket in 2018.  Even now, the pair was allowed to play in the 2019 Indian Premier … Continue reading

New signings for One World of Sport

One World of Sport is proud to announce the signing of two exciting cricketers. Zimbabwean Solomon Mire is an established international player who has represented his country in all three formats of the game – two Test matches, 40 ODI’s and 7 T20I’s.  Mire is a right-handed top order batsman.  He is particularly effective in white-ball cricket.  In ODI’s he has an average of 21.00 at a strike rate of 82.75, with a highest score of 112.  In T20I’s Mire has scored his runs at an average of 35.57 and a strike rate of 129.68, with a highest score of 94.  Mire has also played for the Melbourne Renegades in the Australian Big Bash. Mihlali (“Popos”) Mpongwana is a future star.  He made his debut for Western Province during the 2018/19 season, representing them in one first-class and six List A matches.  He was also one of the stars for … Continue reading

Financial problems for Cricket South Africa

There are certain rumours doing the rounds that Cricket South Africa (CSA) is heading for difficult financial times since the departure of the former Chief Executive Officer, Haroon Lorgat, at the end of 2017. Lorgat may not have been the ideal leader, as we saw with his tenure at the International Cricket Council and especially his altercations with India. However, Lorgat, professionally being a chartered accountant, did an outstanding task as CEO for South African cricket, especially with regard to finances. He brought about financial stability and growth. When he left CSA had R1,4 billion in reserves. This was built mainly on budgeting the dollar very conservatively compared to the real trading value. Since he left the position 14 months ago, CSA have spent a billion rand of its reserves and now have only about R400 million in reserves. This might sound like a healthy position but for an operation … Continue reading

Panel beating for Test cricket

The august cricket body known as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) holds an odd (almost anachronistic) yet at the same time venerable position in world cricket. Among its many functions it has a World Cricket Committee which analyses all aspects of cricket and from time to time makes recommendations to the International Cricket Council (ICC).  The Committee currently has 15 members.  Its chairperson is the former England captain, Mike Gatting, and some of the other current members include Shane Warne, Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting (a mini who’s who of former international players).  Vincent van der Bijl is the only South African member. At the conclusion of its most recent meeting last week in Bengaluru, India, the Committee released some interesting and somewhat controversial findings and recommendations: The Committee released the results of the ‘Test Cricket Survey’, aimed at testing the popularity and relevance of Test cricket among … Continue reading

Duanne Olivier, the Kolpak cricketer

The decision by Duanne Olivier to turn his back on international cricket and sign a three-year contract with Yorkshire as a Kolpak player has once again placed the spotlight on Kolpak. The matter is sensitive because he is a current member of the South African Test team, like Kyle Abbott was before him. He is only 26 years of age, played in 10 Test matches and has just broken into the ICC Top 20 ranking for fast bowlers. So was it the right decision or not? In cricketing terms he has given up a potential international career to become a county cricketer. He will be a great asset to Yorkshire but will he ever really have a fulfilled career leaving the international game so young? The stimulation between playing professional and international cricket are not comparable. The profile and history of a player is measured in his international performances. Except … Continue reading

Should we give up on ticket sales?

Since the halcyon days of the 1990’s, when international cricket still had a novelty value, cricket crowds in South Africa have slowly but steadily diminished over the last twenty years. The 2018/19 season has seen this trend continue at an alarming rate.  The inaugural Mzansi Super League couldn’t attract a single sell-out stadium.  The Test crowds were poor for the Pakistan series and quite frankly pathetic for the recently concluded Sri Lanka series.  According to reports, none of the twelve Momentum One-Day Cup matches have thus far attracted a crowd of more than 1,000. The advent of T20 cricket has of course not helped the cricket administrators in trying to sell tickets for Test and one-day cricket.  Faced with a decision over where to spend their hard-earned money, fans have over the past decade clearly preferred the shortest format.  However, the big crowd-pullers overseas, like the Indian Premier League, the … Continue reading

Test Cricket Terminal?

The President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Shashank Manohar, has made a statement that Test cricket is dying and that the Test Championship, due to start after the Cricket World Cup later in 2019, needs to be the saviour. The ICC has always stated that Test cricket remains their number one product and priority. However, they have only paid lip service to this statement and let the world game drift with no structure to ensure the balance between limited overs and Test cricket. It is a pity that the ICC President took the negative route on what he thought the state of Test cricket was when he should have positively enhanced the ICC’s strategy around Test cricket with the new imitative of a Test Championship. Also, why did he not place the spotlight on the re-emergence of the West Indies team that easily beat England, the ICC’s number one … Continue reading