Lloyd Burnard

Poor governance, not players, will fail SA cricket

2017-10-24 13:15
Lloyd Burnard

Cape Town - It may 'only' be Bangladesh, but what the last month has revealed is that South African cricket is in a healthy state from a player perspective. 

It generally always is, but the long-term future of the national set-up has been uncertain for a while now. 

The 'old school' have been praise-worthy servants to the cause, but they are on their way out and the 2019 Cricket World Cup will be the death of one generation and the birth of the next. 

Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers ... there is a good chance that all of those players are eyeing the 2019 showpiece as the end of the road. 

The above-mentioned names have been massive for the Proteas over the years, and the prospect of them all leaving at the same time is understandably daunting.  

The good news is that the post-2019 picture, while still not crystal clear, it is at least starting to take shape and that is thanks largely to the emergence of a few players during this Bangladesh tour. 

Aiden Markram alone affords South African cricket fans a sigh of relief when contemplating the next decade. He is the real deal and must be protected. 

Young Wiaan Mulder, at just 19, still has a long way to go but he also looked like he belonged when he was given a taste of international cricket this past weekend. He comes highly rated. 

Then there is the ever-improving Andile Phehlukwayo (21), the already-world class Kagiso Rabada (22) and the naturally superb Quinton de Kock (24). 

With De Kock the most senior of those five players, there is all of a sudden a solid base to work with when plotting the way beyond 2019. 

At 27, Keshav Maharaj can push through until 2023 while Temba Bavuma is the same age. 

On Monday, there was more good news when 21-year-old Lungi Ngidi burst back onto the domestic scene with six wickets for the Titans against the Highveld Lions. 

Ngidi has had a torrid time with a back injury, but he looks to have put that behind him. He has raw pace and the potential to be destructive, and he has already shown glimpses of that on the international stage. 

The young talent, it seems, is there to work with and from that perspective South African cricket seems healthy enough.

But while the past month has inspired confidence on the field, the developments off of it have been concerning. 

There is still no clarity as to exactly what brought about the sudden departure of CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat with a little over a month to go until the start of the T20 Global League. 

A breakdown in communication seems evident, and the CSA board has suggested that it was not kept in the loop when it came to key decisions surrounding the tournament. 

But, as the board, why did they not insist that they were kept in the loop? If they did not know the intricacies of the planning for what was billed a mega-event, then they must be held accountable for that too. 

An internal investigation is ongoing, we are told, and we must wait for those findings, but from the outside looking in the leadership at CSA has been all over the place in the last six weeks. 

The hype surrounding the Global League amounted to nothing and its postponement will have left a large number of domestic players who were banking on that Christmas pay-day seething. That is not great given that one of the major aims of this tournament was to prevent local players from moving abroad. 

With a big summer ahead and series against India and Australia on the cards, there will be enough exciting cricket to keep us distracted. 

But, in that time, CSA needs to get its house in order. 

While the future of the Proteas is beginning to take shape, the future of CSA is as murky as ever. 

For the players to succeed, there needs to be sound administration. CSA needs a leader, and quickly. 

Lloyd Burnard is a journalist at Sport24 and the former Sports Editor of The Witness newspaper ...

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    proteas  |  lloyd burnard  |  cricket
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