Best Cricket World Cup ever

Australia and New Zealand have hosted the best ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) in the history of the tournament. Well over a million people attended the matches and the television viewership was the biggest in the history of the tournament. When India played, over 650 million watched their team play. The matches were played in magnificent stadiums with world class commentary. Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket must be congratulated on hosting a fantastic tournament. The general feeling was that the 1992 CWC took cricket to a new level with a big sponsor in Benson & Hedges. Also, it was the first time that a CWC was played under lights and in coloured clothing. If 1992 took cricket to a new level, then 2015 established the CWC as a truly global event and consolidated the fifty over game. When the 2015 CWC was awarded to Australasia many felt that it … Continue reading

Quo Vadis Proteas?

Perhaps it is a good thing that the Indian Premier League (IPL) starts next week.  Eleven squad members of the Proteas’ failed World Cup campaign will be in action and they will not have much time to ponder the “what if’s”.  For the moment… Both in terms of relative strength to the other teams as well as their own strengths, 2015 represented the Proteas’ best shot at glory since Hansie Cronje took the best ODI team in the world to England in 1999.  So where did it all go wrong..? Relatively speaking, from 1999 to 2007 the Proteas competed against an Australian team that in terms of world cricket is right up there with the best of the best – Bradman’s “Invincibles” of the 1940’s and the Windies of the 1970’s & ’80’s.  In 2011 the world (not only the Proteas) simply came up against an Indian team that everything … Continue reading

Another Cricket World Cup disappointment

The Proteas were eliminated from the 2015 Cricket World Cup (CWC) by New Zealand in Auckland in an epic encounter that does justice to the great game of cricket and the CWC. This time the Proteas can’t be accused of choking, they weren’t even beaten; they were edged with one ball to spare. The semi-final was their best performance in the tournament; unfortunately, it was just not enough against New Zealand who have been the team of the CWC to date. They still remain undefeated and if they win the final it would be an incredible achievement for a nation that is more rugby focussed. However, if South Africa is ever to win a CWC, Cricket South Africa needs to learn some serious lessons out of this tournament. They need to get the selection of the squad right to give the management and team a realistic chance to win the … Continue reading

A fresh look at regulating agents

  Cricket South Africa (CSA), in collaboration with the South African Cricketers’ Association, are on the verge of implementing regulations governing the registration and conduct of cricket agents.  On 1 April 2015 the international football federation, FIFA, will implement new regulations for agents (or “intermediaries”, as they will from now be known).  It is therefore interesting to compare the different regulations. FIFA has for decades been at the forefront of regulating agents.  In 1991 it started to get really tough with agents, introducing the system of licensed players’ agents.  In 2009 FIFA announced that an in-depth reform of the system was necessary in order to address several shortcomings.  Five years and an extensive consultation process later, a revised dispensation was ratified. The key FIFA changes and how they compare with the proposed cricket agents’ regulations are as follows: Those engaged in providing services to a player will be termed “intermediaries”.  … Continue reading

Cricket World Cup too long

Once again the Cricket World Cup tournament is proving too long

The Cricket World Cup in Australasia started a month ago and the tournament after 36 matches has still not reached the business end, the playoffs. Once again the tournament is proving too long and this has been the feeling for years. The ICC needs to address the format of the tournament, not only with regards to its length, but quality as well. The World Cup is not a platform for development, but the showcase of world cricket. They have confused the development of the game with excellence. The minnows, with the exception of Ireland, have been poor and devalued the tournament. Ireland have enjoyed a good tournament and to date have won three matches and could qualify for the quarter-finals. However, when they have played a big nation like South Africa or India they have also been shown up. The West Indies and England have also added no value to … Continue reading

Participation does not equal progress (The case for a 10-team World Cup)

Media speculation at the current World Cup in Australasia is gaining momentum around whether future World Cups should be smaller or more inclusive.  Stated differently, should associate members participate in the World Cup and, if so, how many? The International Cricket Council (ICC) has 107 members divided into three classes of membership: Full members, the ten governing bodies of teams that play official test cricket; associate members, the 37 governing bodies in countries where cricket is firmly established and organised but do not qualify for full membership; and affiliate members, the 60 governing bodies in countries where the ICC recognises that cricket is played according to the laws of the game. The World Cup has had many different qualification criteria but since the first one in England in 1975 at least one associate member has always participated.  At this year’s World Cup there are 14 teams.  The ten full members … Continue reading

Proteas downgraded at World Cup

The Proteas started the Cricket World Cup in Australasia as the second favourites, if not the favourites. However, after the first two matches they have been downgraded to at best fourth. The performances of Australia, New Zealand and India in the opening rounds have been far superior to that of the Proteas. Australia and New Zealand have not disappointed and definitely look the best two teams. India, who was not given much hope of defending their title before the CWC, has sent out a strong message with impressive wins against Pakistan and South Africa. The Proteas have started the CWC indifferently with an unimpressive win against Zimbabwe and were badly beaten by India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. At the MCG they did not look like one of the top teams in the tournament but one of those also ran teams that have no chance of winning the coveted trophy, … Continue reading

A Team of Millionaires

  Together with the start last week in Melbourne of the 2015 edition of cricket’s global showpiece, the World Cup, the Australian Business Review Weekly (BRW) also published its list of the top 50 highest earning sport stars in Australia. According to the BRW, Andrew Bogut, a basketball star in America, earned US$16.2m in 2014 and was the richest Australian sport star.  He is followed by golfers Adam Scott and Jason Day with earnings of US$15.5m and US$10.65m respectively. However, the most representative sport on the list is cricket.  No fewer than 14 international cricketers made the list.  Six are in the top 20 (with overall position and earnings in brackets): Shane Watson:  8th, Aus$4.5m Mitchell Johnson:  10th, Aus$4.1m Michael Clarke:  11th, Aus$4m David Warner:  12th, Aus$3.8m Steve Smith:  14th, Aus$3.1m James Faulkner:  18th, Aus$2.8m Personal endorsements make up a fair chunk of these players’ earnings but the vast majority … Continue reading

New Cricket World Cup champions to be crowned

Cricket World Cup 2015

The ICC Cricket World Cup begins in Australasia on Saturday with hosts Australia playing England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and New Zealand playing Sri Lanka in Christchurch. The Proteas start their campaign in Hamilton against Zimbabwe on Sunday. The table has been set for a feast of cricket, not only this weekend but for the next six weeks, as the top fourteen ODI teams battle it out for the World Cup. However, realistically there are only three teams who can lift the World Cup on the 29 March at the MCG. The three teams are Australia, South Africa and New Zealand and in that order. It is hard to see the reigning champions India defending their title. The greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are gone and their recent performances don’t suggest much, especially, away from the sub-continent. The same applies to the other sub-continent teams. New Zealand … Continue reading

Barking up the wrong tree

  At the recent launch of the 2015 Varsity Cup, SARU CEO Jurie Roux spoke of the growing concern of young, talented rugby players being poached by overseas clubs with fat wallets. According to Roux: “What is worrying is the targeting of our younger players – they are grabbing them at Under-20 level, players who we foresee playing for us.” Cricket is experiencing a similar exodus, although admittedly not on the same scale as rugby and perhaps for slightly different reasons. However, the fact of the matter is that in South Africa rugby and cricket players are like the gold buried in our soil: There will always be far more than we can use ourselves. It would be a reasonable assumption that every SA Schools rugby or cricket player would have aspirations to one day play for either the Springboks or Proteas. Yet, since 1940, the overall percentage of SA … Continue reading