SA cricket ‘plunged into a bit of a de­pres­sion’

The Mercury - - SPORT - Lun­gani Zama

IT HAS been tough week at Kingsmead. Dur­ing the peak of Tues­day’s storm, the en­tire play­ing field was un­der wa­ter, parts of the car-park were in knee-high wa­ter, and the gym re­sem­bled a swim­ming pool.

There were also con­cerns about how the new roof on the pres­i­den­tial suite would hold up to winds of up to 80km/h, but thank­fully that held up to the test.

Prac­tice for the rest of the week has to be in Pietermaritzburg – a 45-minute trek each way – as all the turf wick­ets in the Dur­ban area re­sem­ble sludge.

And yet, de­spite all that, the big­gest downer at Kingsmead this week was the news that the T20 Global League was post­poned for a year, at least.

There had been a spring in the step at each prac­tice, just as it must surely have been at every other fran­chise and am­a­teur prac­tice across South Africa.

That buzz was be­cause of this glitzy new show, this life-chang­ing event that was around the cor­ner.

“I think that South African cricket will be plunged into a bit of a de­pres­sion after that,” Dol­phins coach Grant Mor­gan sighed.

“There was def­i­nitely a buzz around train­ing, be­cause it is very ex­cit­ing. I just hope that no one has com­mit­ted them­selves to any­thing fi­nan­cially.

“You know, like sign­ing a lease that moves you from Berea to Umh­langa, be­cause you ex­pected a big pay cheque to be com­ing in soon. I think the chal­lenge now is to be the team that re­acts best to the sit­u­a­tion, be­cause the sea­son has to go on.”

That much is true, and the Dol­phins will be look­ing to se­nior play­ers like Vaughn van Jaarsveld to find an­other gear, and an­other source of in­spi­ra­tion.

“It’s ob­vi­ously dis­ap­point­ing, but those are dis­cus­sions that are be­yond our pay grade now,” Van Jaarsveld mused.

“We just have to con­cen­trate on play­ing cricket, be­cause that is what we are paid to do.”

Of course, every player who was signed up at the draft will be paid a lot less than they had en­vis­aged for De­cem­ber after the post­pone­ment of the tour­na­ment ear­lier this week.

On a wider scale, it is an­tic­i­pated that the SA Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion will seek com­pen­sa­tion for play­ers, while mar­quee over­seas play­ers like Kevin Pi­etersen and Chris Gayle may well be ex­plor­ing their le­gal van­tage points, given the loss of earn­ings on and off the field.

The fig­ure of over R300 mil­lion that Cricket SA have al­ready spent may well swell to­wards the half a bil­lion mark if they are sad­dled with a stream of bills by would-be play­ers, sup­pli­ers and sup­port staff.

For crick­eters around SA, how­ever, many prom­ises that may have been made on the back of T20 Global League money may well have to be de­ferred for a year at least.

The sun shone in Dur­ban on Wed­nes­day and yes­ter­day, and dried much of the dev­as­ta­tion that the cat­e­gory three storm of Tues­day wreaked.

In­deed, you would never say that the Kingsmead out­field had been flooded, given its green sheen.

But, if you speak to play­ers around the in­door cen­tre, at the can­teen and at the freshly-mopped gym, the ef­fects of Tues­day’s other grim of­fer­ing are only just set­ting in.

GRANT MOR­GAN

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