2020 has been a disastrous year for cricket in South Africa thanks to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) incompetency. It will go down in the annals of history as the beginning of the end of South African cricket, unless the game is de-politicised in the future. If there were a reward for a sporting body “Mampara of the Year” they would win it hands down. It is amazing how a globally respected cricketing body for decades can actually deteriorate to the degree that CSA have. Sorry, as a South African cricketing person, I have to say that they are nothing but a disgrace.
There is absolutely no leadership at either Board or professional levels. During 2020 CSA had no less than three Acting Chief Executive Officers and two Presidents. This gave the Government the opportunity to interfere in cricket’s affairs. Besides the Minster of Sport taking CSA into unchartered territory of possible expulsion by the International Cricket Council for political interference, he also appointed an interim Board that has no feeling, understanding or respect for cricket. They have just used cricket as a playground for their political agenda and egos.
The first thing that the interim Board should have done was appoint the correct CEO to manage the organisation, and work with him or her to stabilise the organisation. When the interim Board’s mandate is over in the middle of February 2020, there will be no professional leadership of the organisation. There will be nobody equipped to manage South African cricket on a daily basis regarding strategic management and direction.
The only language that the interim Board talk is corporate governance and radical transformation, with cricket excellence and performances not forming part of their agenda. In both areas CSA have been a failure. When one analyses what has happened to all the CEO’s since the days of Ali Bacher, it is obvious that corporate governance has not succeeded. They have all departed under a cloud, accused of irregularities.
Regarding transformation, CSA have failed to deliver quality cricketers, coaches and administrators on merit. They have used quotas and racial representation to meet their transformation objectives. This has led to the mess they find themselves in today, both on and off the field.
Without cricket eventually becoming the agenda, it is difficult seeing South African cricket having a future. But where is that turning point from a political culture to a cricketing culture? If one loves South African cricket, you need to fear for its future existence.
The year 2021 could become a pivotal year for the game in this country, but there are not tangible signs for optimism. Do not be fooled by a Test series victory against an injury-depleted Sri Lankan team.