Nicholas: CSA 'kicked in teeth'

2013-10-31 11:48
Mark Nicholas (Getty)
Cape Town – It is “scandalous” that Newlands has lost its traditional New Year Test match because of the severe shortening of India’s summer tour of South Africa.

Fans slam 'disgraceful' CSA

So says Mark Nicholas, one of the game’s most high-profile television personalities because of his role as host of Channel 9’s cricket coverage in Australia.

The former Hampshire batsman, who was master of ceremonies at Mark Boucher’s tribute dinner in Johannesburg on Wednesday, said in his column on on Thursday that “a much-loved tradition” over New Year in Cape Town would not take place because of India’s refusal to accept the original (fuller) tour schedule.

“South Africa mourns for the New Year Test ... instead the BCCI (India’s controlling body) hurriedly convened two Test matches at home against West Indies and will go to New Zealand in the New Year – South Africa get to fill the little window in between, small beer for the No 1-ranked team in the world.

“The game is about the players and those who pay to watch them, not the administrators. It is scandalous that Cape Town has lost the match and that SA cricket will lose a great deal of money because of it.

“The job of administration is to act as a conduit between the product, which is the game in whatever format, and its audience. The boardroom is not a place for self-interest – though you would barely believe it in cricket’s hugely political marketplace.”

Nicholas said South Africa may feel India still owes them after the Indian Premier League bailout (CSA took over the event at short notice) of four years ago.

“During that period the South African public wrapped its arms around an Indian tournament, while the South African administrators moved mountains to accommodate the complicated needs and responsibilities of the event.

“Grounds were clean of advertising and sponsorship, and corporate facilities were turned over to Indian guests ... the thank you for that is a kick in the teeth now.”

Nicholas described as “ridiculous” the stand-off between CSA’s CEO Haroon Lorgat and the BCCI, which is seen as the major cause of the tour rumpus.

“Given India’s immensely powerful position in world cricket, many South Africans pre-empted the appointment of Lorgat as unwise (after his clashes with the BCCI while ICC CEO – Sport24). Better to massage the great Indian ego than take it on, in other words.

“Frankly, everyone pays lip service to the BCCI, whether they like to admit it or not. Money talks and India has it spilling from every pore.

“India are the one-day world champions, a top-three Test team, and must-see T20 outfit. They are led by the incomparable MS Dhoni, cricket’s most charismatic face.

“All of which makes them a hit at the box office. There is a price to pay for their appearance, which is as it should be ... but commitments should be honoured, not reneged upon.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  cricket

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