There is a sil­ver lin­ing amid all the sham­bles

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT - Ken Bor­land @KenBor­land

The only pos­i­tive to come out of the T20 Global League fi­asco right now is that all the best play­ers in South Africa will be avail­able for the do­mes­tic T20 com­pe­ti­tion that will fill the gap cre­ated by the col­lapse of the am­bi­tious but over­hyped get-rich-quick scheme.

The CSA T20 Chal­lenge was go­ing to be played from mid-March, in the mid­dle of the Test se­ries against Aus­tralia, and would have ended in mid-April, by which time ev­ery­one would prob­a­bly have been ex­hausted any­way af­ter what was go­ing to be the most hec­tic sum­mer in our his­tory. The tour by In­dia was go­ing to be sand­wiched in between the T20 Global League and the ar­rival of the Aussies.

But now the do­mes­tic T20 will ac­tu­ally have a de­cent win­dow and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Proteas, so that is at least some good that has come out of the crater-sized hole that has been left in our cricket, both in terms of the cal­en­dar and fi­nan­cial re­sources.

Given the mag­ni­tude of the cri­sis – it has the po­ten­tial to dwarf the Gerald Ma­jola bonus scan­dal – it is only right and proper that Cricket South Africa shares with all their stake­hold­ers – the pub­lic, the play­ers and spon­sors – just how they man­aged to get this so wrong.

The South African Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s (Saca) call for an in­de­pen­dent re­view to be set up is ex­actly right, but af­ter the machi­na­tions of the board dur­ing the bonus scan­dal, I have some doubts over CSA’s abil­ity to put all their cards on the ta­ble so their stake­hold­ers can get to the bot­tom of ex­actly what went wrong.

It is ob­vi­ous that the CSA board once again, as in Ma­jola’s case, al­lowed their CEO far too much lat­i­tude to op­er­ate on his own, do­ing what he liked with­out proper over­sight. An­other CEO told me that Ha­roon Lor­gat’s sidelin­ing of the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer from the big­gest fi­nan­cial project the or­gan­i­sa­tion has ever un­der­taken should have set off alarm bells.

The lack of timely ac­tion taken by the board (at least they did some­thing be­fore the bleed­ing be­came ter­mi­nal) raises ques­tions over the cul­pa­bil­ity of their own mem­bers in this dis­as­ter and that is some­thing which should be within the scope of an in­de­pen­dent re­view.

A more press­ing is­sue is com­pen­sa­tion for the play­ers. While CSA are now so fi­nan­cially squeezed that they are like a lemon at a seafood fes­ti­val, they are go­ing to have to make pay­outs to the 144 play­ers who were set to play in the T20 Global League.

Many of those had signed on for juicy con­tracts and have made fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments that are now in tat­ters; many gave up on other op­por­tu­ni­ties, some of them even at in­ter­na­tional level. Think of the play­ers who qual­i­fied to be rook­ies this year, but by next year will be 24 and too old.

“The to­tal player loss is very sig­nif­i­cant and there are many sad sto­ries out there,” Saca head Tony Ir­ish said.

And let’s not for­get the bad PR that will fol­low from many of the top in­ter­na­tional play­ers who will be spread­ing news around the world of how dis­grun­tled and let down they feel.

Lor­gat used to boast about how CSA were the top sports fed­er­a­tion in the coun­try, but af­ter his ig­no­min­ious fall, they are in the same po­si­tion they were in when they ap­pointed the for­mer In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil CEO – des­per­ately try­ing to win back the con­fi­dence of the play­ers and pub­lic.

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