Committee to investigate feasibility of CSA’s domestic restructure decision

Committee to investigate feasibility of CSA’s domestic restructure decision
Archive Photo, December 15..2019. Mark Boucher and co-selector Enoch Nkwe have shown their hand for the first two Tests against England. (Photo by Bertram Malgas / Gallo Images)

On a day when newly appointed Proteas coach Mark Boucher took cricket a step forward, the self-serving Cricket South Africa board took another step backwards on Monday.

Proteas coach Mark Boucher has included six uncapped players in his first squad named for the first two of four Tests against England starting on December 26. It felt like cricket, after a fortnight of scandal and crisis, had some positive direction in one area at least.

But several hours later, the remnants of the CSA board, which is now eight-strong from its 12 members two weeks ago, announced the formation of a “steering committee” to relook its decision to restructure domestic cricket in 2020.

The CSA Members’ Council, which consists of the 14 provincial union presidents, met in a plush Paarl hotel on Monday and formulated the plan, which the CSA board later announced. Former International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson will chair the steering committee.

It appears to be a distraction from the many calls for the board’s resignation, most crucially from key stakeholders such as their biggest remaining sponsor Momentum.

Throwing in the respected Richardson lends credibility and gravitas to the committee. It’s a pity though, that the self-serving CSA board didn’t create a steering committee to investigate the need to restructure domestic cricket before announcing the decision eight months ago.

On 11 April this year, now suspended chief executive Thabang Moroe unilaterally announced the restructuring of South Africa’s domestic cricket. Moroe decreed that the professional game would change from six professional franchises and 15 semi-professional provincial teams to a 12-team format without consulting their major stakeholder, the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca).

That authoritarian decision subsequently led to Saca launching a High Court application in May, compelling CSA to show just cause as to why the domestic game needed to be restructured.

Now, seven months after Saca’s court application, CSA has set up a committee to establish the feasibility of a decision the CSA board had already taken. It’s an admission that it took a massive decision without properly carrying out due diligence on the impact and ramifications of that action, which is precisely what Saca argued in its court application. CSA’s announcement on Monday is a tacit acknowledgement that Saca was correct when it requested more details before agreeing to the decision.

Richardson will act as a mediator between the CSA board and Saca, even though the CSA announcement on Monday said Saca would have a representative on the steering committee. Saca confirmed to Daily Maverick on Monday night that it had not yet been formally contacted about the announcement that it would form part of the steering committee. Saca was waiting for formal correspondence and it would only “consider its position relative to its High Court application,” once an approach had been made.

The committee is expected to report back to the board at its next meeting in the first quarter of 2020. The committee, in addition to Richardson and a Saca representative, will consist of the CSA director of cricket (at this stage it’s Graeme Smith, but he is only in the position for the next three months) and the CSA chief financial officer.

Domestic cricket is an important part of our talent development pipeline in ensuring that top-quality players come through the system to maintain the Proteas as a major force in the world game,” Nenzani said, mirroring one of Saca’s arguments against expanding the domestic structure to 12 teams in its court application.

Meanwhile Boucher and his co-selectors Linda Zondi, Enoch Nkwe and Smith revealed their hand for the first two Tests against England.

They named both a Proteas Test squad and a South Africa “A” side that will meet England in a three-day match.

The Cape Cobras duo of fast bowler Dane Paterson and opening batsman Pieter Malan, the Lions trio of batsman Rassie van der Dussen, fast bowler Beuran Hendricks and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, and Warriors wicketkeeper/batsman Rudi Second have all been included in the squad which will assemble for a training camp later this week.

Second was selected for the previous Test series in India in October, but had to withdraw due to injury. Paterson, Van der Dussen, Hendricks and Pretorius have all represented the Proteas in white-ball internationals.

The first Test match takes place at SuperSport Park, Centurion, from December 26 to 30 and the second at Newlands from January 3 to 7.

Lungi Ngidi of the Titans and Wiaan Mulder of the Lions could not be considered because of injury while Aiden Markram was included despite currently being injured.

The high number of uncapped players coming into the squad is a reflection of our policy to acknowledge players who do well at franchise level and have put their hands up for selection,” said Zondi.

Van der Dussen, who is third on the current four-day batting averages, and Pretorius, who has established himself as the leading all-rounder, are clear examples of this.

Following the same trend, Paterson has been the second-leading wicket-taker in four-day cricket this season, including a seven-wicket haul in an innings, and we want to go into the Test series will a full arsenal of fast bowlers who have always provided one of our traditional strengths.

Beuran Hendricks is also part of this strategy and adds variety to the attack as a left-arm swing bowler.

Malan has been one of the most consistent run-scorers in franchise cricket for many seasons now and, as a specialist opening batsman, he provides cover for Markram, while Second provides cover in the wicketkeeping department and is a top-order batsman in his own right.

The selection of the A side to play England in a three-day tour match is confirmation of our policy to make this team our official South African 2nd XI and it has a good mix of experienced and young players with Pite van Biljon, Kyle Verreynne, Glenton Stuurman and Nandre Burger all being chosen at this level for the first time.

Van Biljon and Verreynne are both in the top six on the four-day batting averages while we have gone for a young fast bowling attack as we look to develop our depth in this area,” said Zondi. DM

Proteas Test squad:

Faf du Plessis (Titans, captain), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Pieter Malan (Cape Cobras), Aiden Markram (Titans), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Rudi Second (Warriors), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions).

SA A squad (to play England at Willowmoore Park from December 20-22):

Temba Bavuma (Lions), Nandre Burger (Cape Cobras), Theunis de Bruyn (Titans), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Pieter Malan (Cape Cobras), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Pite van Biljon (Knights), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras).


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