Australia’s new cricket culture is right

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has come out publically that Australia will not be successful with the new culture that Cricket Australia is trying to create after the banning of current captain Steve Smith and David Warner following the ball-tampering incident at Newlands. Clarke has stated that they will “Win sh—t” with the new culture and that their aim is to be liked but not respected. He wants to continue with the verbal (and at times bordering on physical) abuse and arrogance of the past. He has endorsed the old culture of the Australian team and sees nothing wrong with the bully tactics of years gone by. This is disappointing for a respected and successful Australian captain who has a head in the sand approach. If Clarke thinks that world cricket is going to tolerate an out of control Australian team, he is out of touch with reality. World cricket … Continue reading

Proteas far from World Cup ready

At the conclusion of their recent white-ball tour to Australia, Proteas coach, Ottis Gibson, and captain, Faf du Plessis, declared their satisfaction with the status quo of the ODI squad.  Both admitted that the team is not the finished product yet but that they are happy with the preparations for next year’s World Cup in England. Except for the fast bowlers, I’m not so sure. The Proteas have played sixteen ODI’s this year.  (There will be no more in 2018 before a five-match ODI series at home against Pakistan from 19 to 30 January 2019.)  In a six-match series against India in South Africa in February, the Indians completely outplayed the Proteas. They won the series 5-1 and became the first Indian touring team to win an ODI series in South Africa. In July/August the Proteas beat Sri Lanka 3-2 in an away series.  It might sound impressive but Sri … Continue reading

Mzansi Super League a watershed event

The Mzansi Super League (MSL) that starts at Newlands today with a match between the Cape Town Blitz and Tshwane Spartans is a watershed event for South African cricket due to historical reasons. The MSL faces many challenges and is an important event for the credibility of Cricket South Africa (CSA). The MSL is being launched against the failed backdrop of the T20 Global League which was cancelled last year at the very last moment. There are challenges facing the MSL with the biggest one being the financial success of the event; this was the very reason why the T20 Global League was cancelled. On the surface it looks like CSA is prepared to carry the operational losses to establish the MSL, hoping that they will recover these losses in the future. The prediction is that the loss for the inaugural tournament will be between R100-120 million. The SABC are … Continue reading

Cricket must find its communities again

The case for cricket to re-connect with its communities has never been stronger than now.  Three major international events at the end of last month prove this point. In 2016 unheralded Leicester City scripted one of the Cinderella stories of sport by overcoming odds of 5,000 to 1 to be crowned English Premier League champions.  The success was built on the investment of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai billionaire of the King Power business empire, who took over ownership of the club in 2010. Unfortunately this relationship came to a tragic end on 28 October when Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash after attending a Leicester City game.  A torrent of grief followed the news, as well as astonishing stories of Srivaddhanaprabha’s kindness towards the fans, gestures that showed he cared for the citizens of Leicester and big donations he made to local charities and hospitals that went unreported. Cynics … Continue reading

South Africa cricket needs the old provincial system

South African cricket needs to replace the current franchise system with the provincial system that served cricket in this country so well for over a hundred years. It is not living in the past but rectifying the worst restructuring decision made in the history of South African cricket by a generation of administrators who failed to understand the dynamics of both South African and world cricket at the time. They tried to create new identities with the franchises at a time when domestic cricket was under pressure around the world because of the increase in international cricket and the T20 tournaments. Also, they sacrificed great cricket brands like Western Province and naïvely believed that people would support a new franchise brand that had no identity or history. This decision destroyed domestic cricket as a commercially viable entity and forced its future existence totally on international revenue. The decision was also … Continue reading

The Mzansi Super League is unveiled

Over the past fortnight, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has moved up a gear or two in bringing their new international T20 tournament closer to reality. Firstly, in keeping with their promise that the new tournament will have “a name that uniquely represents the nation”, CSA on 15 October announced the tournament would be called the Mzansi Super League (MSL).  Mzansi is an informal, Xhosa name for South Africa, literally meaning south. It is the right thing to give the tournament a unique African identity.  However, one struggles to see how it will grow internationally as a brand with a name that the majority of the cricket world will find strange.  Wouldn’t the tournament have had a more international ring to it if it were called the Africa T20 Cup..?  The name Mzansi could then replace the current Africa T20 Cup. Also on 15 October CSA announced the names of the … Continue reading

Why an auction or draft for T20 cricket?

With the growth of T20 cricket around the world, we have seen the increase of the draft system for franchises to contract their playing personnel. This modern recruitment system is an American style mechanism. It all started over a decade ago with the start of the Indian Premier League when they introduced the auction. Does cricket, which is not an American sport really, need to go to these lengths to assemble a T20 squad?   When one has a look at the amount of players entering these drafts they far exceed the amount of positions available. A good example of this is the Cricket Emirates T20 League that is currently being launched. There are five teams and 535 cricketers from around the world have entered the draft. Mathematically, this will leave about 435 players unsuccessful and their expectations unfulfilled. This happens with most T20 tournaments, as the supply and demand is … Continue reading

CSA T20 2018: What is the status quo?

After the collapse of the T20 Global League in 2017, Cricket South Africa (CSA) was under real pressure to come up with a replacement tournament.  After months of speculation, the board of CSA on 8 September eventually gave the green light for an international T20 tournament to be hosted in South Africa over November and December 2018. From the outset it was clear that a lot of work needed to be done to make the tournament a success.   CSA has come a long way in the last month and taking stock, this is what we know: The tournament will run from 9 November to 17 December (the 17th being the reserve day for the final). CSA has entered into a three-year broadcast deal with the SABC after the original broadcaster, SuperSport, pulled out as CSA’s equity partners for the tournament. CSA is still in ongoing negotiations with the SABC ahead … Continue reading

Is professionalism destroying sport?

The professionalism of sport the last twenty five years has led to many challenges with regard to financial stability, availability of players and the lack of passion from sports fans. There is little doubt that since the inception of the professional era sport has lost it gloss and appeal to the sports fans. One just has to look at the empty stadiums to realize that the professional era has many problems. There are probably three major reasons for the decline in the interest and passion for sport. Sports teams’ historical roots were in communities and the teams represented their communities, but in the professional era teams draw their players from other provinces, clubs and even overseas. The teams no longer represent a specific community but a professional brand and this has led to a decline in interest from the public. The professional era’s cost structure is so much higher than … Continue reading

Africa T20 Cup growing in stature

Remember when the Africa T20 Cup was announced in 2015 and one of the pop-up banners at the launch function read “Arfica T20 Cup”? There were many sceptics four years ago who doubted the viability of the tournament.  But the tournament has grown in stature and today there are few who still believe it doesn‘t have a rightful place on the South African cricket calendar. Initially the tournament was created to fill the gap left in the calendar by the cancellation of the Indian Premier League’s off-shoot, the Champions League Twenty20.  Because of the cancellation, SuperSport desperately needed content to fill its airwaves and so the Africa T20 Cup was born.  From being a substitute tournament four years ago, it is now a standalone event seen as the curtain-raiser to the South African domestic season. The format of the tournament was the same from 2015 to 2017.  Sixteen teams (the … Continue reading