The Leading Edge
Cricket bosses are stumbling into the ways of government
Not for the first time, these are strange days indeed in SA cricket
Tell you what, let's ask government, who have limited funds to spend on more deserving matters and are bad at doing so, to pay a chunk of our bills. And let's scrap our biggest ongoing headache and replace it with an exploded version of a smaller but more perfectly formed project and see if it can take the strain. How's that for a plan?
Dangerously inept if you live in the real world. Viable if you're Cricket SA (CSA).
Their scheme to get their affiliates to bid for the expensive privilege of hosting the higher profile international matches - with the financial backing of local authorities struggling to patch potholes and collect the trash - has been binned.
Or rather held up to the witheringly sober light of common sense by the threat of some legal action.
For that we can thank Jack Madiseng and Tebogo Siko, the Gauteng and Northerns presidents. So that's that, probably.
But the plan deserves further attention, not least because the idea, apparently, was to steer more big games to ANC strongholds as part of a broader effort to cosy up to state structures. It's not hard to see why, considering the amount of sponsorship draining out of the game and deterioration of the relationship between CSA and SuperSport.
Problem, more probable and possible: one bunch of suits gives another bunch of suits money - our money, of course - to make more money and who knows how much of the stuff falls off the back of a truck on its way to the governance committees? If that sounds familiar it's because it happened when the Indian Premier League gave CSA R4.7m in bonuses as a reward for doing a damn fine job of hosting the 2009 tournament in a hurry.
So another such bullet has been dodged, but don't think the danger has passed. Instead, stand by for a bunfight over a 12-team franchise system. That's right: double the current six, all of them on financial life support provided by CSA. And on the other side of this equation are the 13 amateur teams who play in all three formats and do nothing except bleed funds and give the poltroon patrol of provincial presidents a pretence of relevance.
Some of those presidents, that is. Maybe people like Madiseng and Siko can smack some sense into deserving heads on this score, too.
Not for the first time these are strange days indeed in SA cricket. Staff learned on Monday that CSA's head of compliance, Lindiwe Ndziba, respected and popular in the game beyond the organisation's shiny new building in Joburg's Melrose Estate, had resigned that day.
She left after being asked to reapply for her position in the same game of executive musical chairs that saw CSA create two new positions: chief commercial officer and chief operating officer. And this, mind, from an outfit that told parliament in October it would lose R654m in the next four years.
Not difficult, is it, to connect the dots between SA's failing government and cricket's stumbling suits.