Cricket South Africa (CSA) finds itself struggling for survival, both on the field and in the boardroom. So, what has gone wrong with the national game that was strong and a cricket body that was once respected throughout the cricketing world?
The three centres of power are the problem, with no one sure who actually administers the game in South Africa. There is the CSA board of directors, consisting of provincial presidents and independent directors. Then we have the President’s Council which consists of the fifteen presidents of each province. Add to this the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and the triangle of power is completed. SACA operates under the banner of a trade union, but it is a centre of power because it has input and demands into the strategies of South African cricket. From time to time, SACA has threatened CSA with legal action on certain decisions.
Who administers South African cricket? No one has the answer to this question and that is why chaos is reigning supreme. There is no decision-making body regarding leadership, strategies and management. The whole structure needs to be dismantled as it is a toxic cocktail.
The latest agreed structure of more independent directors, as recommended by the Judge Nicholson report ten years ago, is not the way forward. On what authority did Judge Nicholson make this decision as he was never involved in cricket at any level? Cricket must be run by cricketing people who are equipped to administer the game. Not egotistic persons who know nothing about cricket and the commercial aspects of an international and professional game.
The quality of independent directors on the interim board is more than enough proof that it is not the way to go. The acting chairman of the board, Judge Yacoob, had to resign because he verbally abused a media person. Other interim directors broke the fragile unity for personal gain. I have been involved with cricket at a high level for 40 years, but I have never ever heard of the new interim chairman, Dr Stavros Nicolaou. A very scary thought for cricket in this country.
There needs to be only one board of ten directors, plus the Chief Executive Officer and Financial Manager, that administers cricket in the country. Five of the directors should be presidents from the provinces and elected by the provinces. Four independent directors that have past cricket experience and have a cricket agenda should be appointed. These should be appointed by a panel of CSA life members to ensure that they are qualified to be directors. Then SACA should have a director appointed by the players, but not a SACA employee.
This board must be supported by a competent and strong staff structure that is held accountable for their performances. Currently CSA is nothing more than an employment bureau with exceptionally low standards.
If cricket is to survive, it needs to have a strong and competent structure, both voluntarily and professionally.