Cricket politically bullied

On the day that the Proteas lost the last T20 international by 9 wickets at Newlands and the series 3-0 to England, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that they would be increasing quotas in the national team from the 2022/23 season. These quotas would allow a maximum of only four white players and a minimum of four black African players per match. Cricket is being bullied by the politicians and the cricket illiterate; this needs to end before it is too late. Already it is late in the day for South African cricket. These quotas take no cognisance of any cricket fundamentals like form, injuries, balance, format, conditions and winning, and make no cricketing sense. Why has CSA become such a political organisation whose only objective is the politicization of the game and social engineering? The reason is that the decision-makers are not cricketing people, but quasi politicians, at best,… Continue reading

America, cricket’s sleeping giant?

Last month USA Cricket launched an ambitious foundational plan, outlining its vision to become a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) by 2030.  Along the way USA Cricket also want to build five international standard stadiums, set up a T20 competition with global reach and appeal, and push for the sport’s inclusion at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.  Lofty ideals if ever there were. Cricket in America has a chequered recent history.  The current national governing body was only established in 2017 following an acrimonious legal battle which ended in the expulsion of the USA Cricket Association from the ICC after more than 50 years.  USA Cricket elected an executive from baseball’s San Francisco 49ers, Paraag Marathe, as chairman and recruited the ICC’s former chief operating officer, Iain Higgins, as CEO.  The head office was also moved to San Francisco. Predictively USA Cricket is banking on the… Continue reading

Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates

The thirteenth Indian Premier League (IPL) has concluded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) despite the Covid-19 threat. This was the second time in the history of the IPL that the tournament took place outside India. The first was in South Africa in 2008 because the event clashed with national elections in India. This time it was because of the high Covid-19 infection rate in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) must be congratulated for successfully staging the IPL during these difficult times in the world. The games were played in empty stadiums, but the strategic placing of advertisements, banners with crowds and the audio surround-sound ensured that the atmosphere was outstanding. The IPL is known for huge spectator attendances and these innovations went a long way to making the tournament a true spectacle. The television viewership was not negatively affected because of the lack of… Continue reading

New law could be catastrophic for sport

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) recently published draft legislation that will force television stations to broadcast for free to the broader public all sports events that are of “national importance”.  In terms of the proposed legislation, Icasa will have the right to decide which sports events will be deemed to be of “national importance”. If this becomes law it will have far-reaching consequences for national sports bodies, individual sportsmen and -women, sponsors, and the grassroots development of sport across the country. The most shocking aspect of the draft legislation is that Icasa appears to have no concept of broadcasting rights.  Icasa apparently wants to ensure that big international sports events like the World Cups in soccer, rugby and cricket, the Olympic Games, and all overseas matches of the Springboks and Proteas are shown free on the SABC channels.  The broadcasting rights to these events are worth billions of Rands… Continue reading

Only piles should stop CSA members sitting through a game

Now that Cricket South Africa’s board members have all resigned under duress, I would like to suggest that their replacements first pass a transformation test before being appointed. They would have to prove that their knowledge of the game was transformed. They are apparently experts on the other meaning of transformation, though I’m not sure about that, either. Nine out of 10 cricket council members are black, five out of six franchise coaches are black, and 52 of CSA’s 64 permanent staff are black. That’s pretty black in my book, even if we haven’t yet been totally transformed into cricketing All Blacks. But some are still not satisfied, the least satisfied being Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, who has just got the chop but believes people like her should have a say in team selection, even if they aren’t mad about cricket and don’t really understand it. She said: “What worries me… Continue reading

Cricket South Africa no more than an employment bureau

Cricket South Africa today is no more than an employment bureau with very little respect for standards, outcomes and being cost effective. They recently announced through the media that they have 64 employees of which 52 are black. This was part of an ad hoc media release on their transformation success at staff levels when they found themselves under pressure from both the government and public. This number excludes expensive consultants that they also make use of, and all the employees in the 13 provinces. Reading this media release took me down memory lane to 1984 when I was appointed the first full-time employee of the Griqualand West Cricket Union, today called Northern Cape. I was the second full-time administrator appointed in South African cricket after Dr Ali Bacher, who about three months earlier had been appointed as Managing Director of the Transvaal Cricket Council, today called the Gauteng Cricket… Continue reading

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