Conflicts of interest

A key principle of the relationship between an athlete and his agent is that there should be no trace of a conflict of interest, whether directly or indirectly.  This holds true regardless of whether the conflict of interest is real or just perceptively so.   The Indian cricket captain (and fourth most marketable sportsman in the world), Virat Kohli, is currently under investigation by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for breaching its conflict of interest rules.  An official complaint was lodged against Kohli in July this year, and the BCCI’s investigation is ongoing. These are the facts:  Kohli is a director in two Indian companies, Virat Kohli Sports and Cornerstone Venture Partners.  His fellow directors in these two companies are also directors of another company, Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment (CSE).  CSE is a leading Indian talent management agency which manages Kohli as well as several current… Continue reading

Cricket South Africa on the verge of suspension

Cricket South Africa (CSA) is on the verge of getting suspended or even expelled from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for government interference. The Minister of Sport, Nathi Mthethwa, has given CSA until 27 October to give him reasons why he should not get involved. This is bad news for cricket as the ICC’s constitution does not allow political interference in the sport. The CSA administration has betrayed the great game of cricket and cricket fans. It needs to be removed in the interests of cricket, both in South Africa and internationally. In September, when CSA refused to release the Fundudzi forensic report, the Minster should have obtained a court order to force them to release it publicly. He should also have given them 21 days in which to have an annual general meeting to elect a new administration. Government intervention is justified when a sporting organisation falls into a… Continue reading

The world’s most marketable

Last week the authoritative British sports media company, SportsPro, released its annual list of the most marketable athletes on the planet.  This week SportsPro released its inaugural list of the world’s 50 most marketed brands. Before reading further, see if you can guess which athlete and brand came out on top… The key drivers for the marketability of athletes are performance and social media presence.  As it should be, athletes who perform well on the global stage generate the most exposure for their sponsors (or as SportsPro calls them, brand partners) and attract a larger fan following.  Social media platforms can no longer be considered a trend in the sports world.  Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, VK, Weibo and YouTube are here to stay.  The athletes who can engage best with their fans on social media, are more marketable and therefore more likely to attract sponsors.    Heading the list… Continue reading

The Kolpak era ends

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) this week announced that from the 31 December 2020, with the United Kingdom exiting the European Union, the Kolpak qualification will cease to exist. This is a blow for South African cricketers, especially as 45 of a total of 67 Kolpak cricketers over the years have come from South Africa. When the Kolpak ruling was made in 2003, the former Proteas and Western Province spin bowler, Claude Henderson, became the first Kolpak signing in 2004 by Leicestershire. Other countries’ cricketers who were eligible to qualify as Kolpak cricketers under the European Union Association Agreements were the West Indies and Zimbabwe. The reason that most of the Kolpak cricketers were from South Africa is because in the past South African cricket was strong and respected. South Africa, through its strong cricket schools system, has always produced more quality cricketers than there are opportunities for… Continue reading

The crowdless IPL

After a delay that must have felt like infinity for the cricket mad Indians, the thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) finally got under way in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last Saturday. The tournament usually takes place in April and May every year.  Like many sport tournaments the world over, the IPL had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  But at least it was not cancelled for 2020. As it became more and more evident that it would not be possible to host the tournament in India, the organisers decided to move the cricket spectacle to the UAE.  They should be commended for it.  The IPL is an annual, global showcase for cricket.  It is generally regarded as one of the premier sports tournaments in the world, in the same league as Champions League football in Europe, cycling’s Tour de France and National Football League… Continue reading

World cricket needs a strong South African cricket system

Cricket South Africa (CSA) needs to get its act together as it has an obligation not only to the country and its cricket fans, but also to the world cricketing community. South Africa has for years played a major role in the development of cricket around the world, even in the isolation years, and was one of the founding members of the International Cricket Conference, the predecessor of the current International Cricket Council. In South Africa today, it is not fashionable to refer to history because of our past. But being a cricketing person not a politician, I am comfortable and proud about the role South African cricket has played in the evolution and growth of cricket in the world. The global game is built on only eleven full nations who play all three international formats and South Africa is crucial to the sustainability of world cricket, especially in the… Continue reading

Ten wickets

Tony Lock was a fine left-arm spinner for England from 1952 to 1968.  In his career he took 174 Test wickets.  But what is he arguably most famous for…?  Remember Jim Laker’s 19 wickets in the Test match against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956?  Well, Lock was the bowler who took the 20th wicket. Today still, Laker’s performance is astonishing.  Even if it was achieved on a pitch, as Wisden described it, “heavily marled and almost devoid of grass”, he must have bowled exceptionally well.  In the history of cricket no other bowler has taken more than seventeen wickets in a first-class match, let alone in a Test match.  It is a unique feat that, like Sir Donald Bradman’s Test batting average of 99.94, might never be surpassed. In the Australian second innings, Laker became the first bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test innings. (Fun fact: … Continue reading

Cricket South Africa crisis deepens

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has had a bad week with the crisis deepening on three fronts. They have had to postpone the Annual General Meeting that was to be held on Saturday. The reason given for this is the need to re-align with the Nicholson report of 2012. One of the reasons why CSA find themselves in this position is because their management structure is too complicated. There are two governing bodies consisting of the General Council with all 14 provincial presidents, and then the Board of Directors consisting of seven provincial presidents and five independent directors. Studying the list of people who serve on the CSA Board it is clear to see that both the independents and presidents have no history in the game with regard to passion, experience, understanding and acumen, and are not equipped to run an international sport. Cricket needs to be managed by cricketing people… Continue reading

The joy of cricket

For the second time in a row I found myself at a complete loss what to write about in my fortnightly column.  The equivalent of a sort of writer’s block. There has been no shortage of events in South African cricket to write about – all of it off the field.  Not writing about things such as the political interference, the boardroom shenanigans or the effects of the Black Lives Matter movement would be like avoiding the elephant in the room.  These issues (and many more) are crucial to the future of the game in our country and I hold strong views on them.  Yet, I somehow could not find it in me to also add my opinion to the public debate.  Why not? Cricket is the most beautiful game I know.  I have been in love with it since the day I first played it on the beach in… Continue reading

Cricket South Africa heading for the abyss

Cricket South Africa (CSA) finds itself in a situation that one must ask the question, is it in the abyss already or heading for it? The interference by the government, political strife, personal conflicts and agendas have seen the organisation become dysfunctional with the resignation of the top leadership. The sudden resignation of the President, Chris Nenzani, with only three weeks left of his tenure, is very interesting. Nenzani for months resisted the pressure from the media, cricket administrators and sponsors alike to resign only to capitulate three weeks before his time was up. Did he resign to make a point or was he pushed? The resignation of the acting CEO, Jacques Faul, a month before his secondment was to end, is further testimony of an organisation that is in crisis and dysfunctional. Faul is the only person who has the experience and modern-day acumen to lead and manage South… Continue reading