South African cricket controlled by the government

CSA remains an organisation that is paralysed, and the crisis deepens
every day. (Photo: Adobestock)

The Minster of Sport, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, has extended the mandate of Cricket South Africa’s Interim Board by two months to 15 April 2021.

In real terms this means that cricket is not run by a board democratically elected by its affiliates and associates, but by the government. Cricket in South Africa remains controlled by the government. This is against the constitution of the International Cricket Council and can lead to CSA’s expulsion.

CSA remains an organisation that is paralysed, and the crisis deepens every day as the game slips more and more into the mire. The cancellation of the Australian tour will cost them in the vicinity of R40 million in lost television revenue. CSA have now asked the ICC to intervene, presumably for loss of revenue. However, it is difficult to see the ICC doing this as many international tours have either been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Sponsorships have also dried up for CSA, as they seem to be struggling to secure sponsors for the game. The CSA T20 Challenge, the crown jewel in years gone by, will be played without a sponsor, much like the two previous Mzansi Super Leagues. If T20 cricket cannot attract sponsors in the modern world, then the sport is in serious trouble. Also, it is rumoured that the Proteas apparel sponsor, New Balance, will not be renewing and CSA are now looking for a new sponsor for the national teams. The cost is R100 million rights fee plus the cost of the playing and training clothes.

Off the field the casualties are also mounting. The Proteas have lost 4 of their last 5 Test series and 10 out of 13 Test matches. They have also lost ODI and T20 series to England, Australia and Pakistan. Since the disastrous 2019 World Cup, they have only managed to win a Test series against Sri Lanka and an ODI series against a tired Australian team, both in South Africa.

The Proteas are a team in crisis and are struggling to compete internationally. If one examines the ICC’s rankings, it tells a story: The Proteas no longer belong to the top echelons of world cricket but with the minnows of the game.

For a sport to thrive and be financially sustainable it needs good governance, a competitive international team and a passionate cricket culture. South African cricket has none of these elements left.

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