Hello new world!
It has been difficult over the last couple of years to write with enthusiasm when it came to cricket’s governing body in SA, but I am happy to report that I'm able to do so with a little more verve at present.
Sponsors, suppliers, advertisers and broadcasters alike have felt they had to tread cautiously around CSA. There was always much talk of ‘sensitivity’ and not wishing to rock the boat. There was always as much that wasn’t said as was said, if not more.
It was difficult to get straightforward answers to simple questions from board members and there were so many undisclosed agendas it became impossible to keep up with the conspiracy theories, let alone the actual conspiracies. To compound matters further, some of the major egos at play were of the hyper-sensitive kind rather than the rhino-skinned variety.
What an extraordinary difference now!
Not only are the game’s administrative leaders looking their sceptics and detractors in the eye, they are holding the gaze. Real conversations about real issues are taking place, progress is being made at astonishing speed and the consensus of opinion is massively in favour of the game’s best interests rather than that of individuals, provinces or franchises.
A new board of directors will be appointed in a couple of months time and if the earlier indicators prove correct, South Africa will be among the world pioneers of true professionalism rather than lurking in an amateur past.
Suggestions that the bloated and unwieldy 23-man governing board be trimmed to just eight or ten are radical enough, but if current proposals are adopted, that would also mean a 50-50 split between directors nominated by the franchises and independent directors, one of whom would be the chairman with a casting vote in the event of split decisions. Just imagine that!
For the first time ever South African cricket would be run by professionals with a mandate to make decisions in the best interests of everyone, not just their Union. Wow.
Acting president Willie Basson is a clever man. He has more than a little bit of politician in him which means he can (and does) beat the amateurs at their preferred game. As chairman of CSA’s Transformation Committee, he has learned the art of grappling with the most emotive and divisive of topics. He appears destined to chair the first CSA ‘new world’ board but seems just as likely to end up in a governmental position.
Jacques Faul, the acting Chief Executive, is uncomfortable being praised for the role he has played so far – mostly because he has been forced to cause so much discomfort amongst the ‘old guard’ in the ‘established order’. He describes himself as a ‘simple guy from Potch’ but that is merely a disguise that he hopes will encourage marauders and schemers to take him lightly. And then woe betide them.
Like Basson, he is a clever man. Unlike Basson, he is neither inclined nor willing to play the politics game.
There is little chance that Basson will be opposed for the chairmanship of the inaugural ‘new era’ Board. Faul, however, despite much support amongst those desperate for change and transparency, could find his path to a permanent position much less smooth.
Haroon Lorgat, whose tenure at the ICC comes to an end in a fortnight, has been regarded as the front-runner to take over at CSA. But if an extremely well-placed source in India was accurate last week, then CSA may well be ‘discouraged’ from appointing him.
Lorgat bravely (and single-handedly) tackled the BCCI head-on over several issues during his reign as ICC CEO, and even won a couple of points. But he was never likely to win in the long run.
If what I’m told is true, then Lorgat at CSA would signal an end to SA’s ‘special relationship’ with India.