“It’s an important year ahead for South African cricket, we start planning for that dreaded competition that all South Africans hate – the World Cup – but like the New Zealand rugby team after years of heartache, our team is not far away from becoming world champions in one of the limited-overs formats,” Domingo told a gathering yesterday of the sport’s major stakeholders at the Repucom Breakfast to announce their marketing research results.
“I can assure you that we have got the players, we just need to support them. The players believe that they are under more scrutiny than anyone else in these tournaments, which is probably fair, but there is a maturity in the side now and they deal with pressure so much better. I know we didn’t win the World T20 semi-final, but if someone had offered me a score of 172 for four beforehand, I would have almost given away my children for it!,” Domingo added.
South Africa are also going to have to find a new Test captain and fill the gaps created by the retirements of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, but Domingo said there are capable replacements in the system, although they will need to be given time to find their feet.
“The biggest thing the South African public must come to terms with is that whoever replaces them needs to be given time, like Jacques was at the start of his career. They need to be allowed to develop, but the game moves on and it will be a new and exciting team taking a different direction. We’ve got to be patient.
“As far as the captaincy goes, there are three or four good candidates that I would feel comfortable with, so there’s a lot of good leadership in the team,” Domingo said.
Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat said the panel set up to choose the new Test captain are still doing their work.
“The selectors met earlier this week, but I still want to talk to the candidate as well. It’s a board appointment on the back of that panel’s recommendation and we will finalise our thoughts on June 3,” Lorgat said.
Despite the disappointment of having to host a curtailed tour by India, Lorgat said CSA are on track to only narrowly miss their financial targets for 2013/14.
“We targeted R280 million profit for this financial year and I reckon we’ll be less than R20 million short despite not having the full India tour. This is partly due to the exchange rate, we don’t mind the dollar rate and the weakening of the rand because that has cushioned the knock, but we’ve also stripped a lot of the costs out of the system,” Lorgat said.
Comparisons are often made between cricket and the two other major sports in South Africa – football and rugby – but, according to Repucom, CSA are doing well.
Proteas coverage attracted a total unique TV audience, across both the SABC and SuperSport, of 14.02 million people, compared to 13.3 million for rugby and 19.61 million for soccer.
Domestic cricket received 290 hours of live coverage, compared to 65 hours for the Currie Cup, 236 hours for SuperRugby and 346 hours for the Absa Premiership.
CSA differs from rugby and football, however, in that the majority of their money comes from overseas.
“The model of cricket is based on international revenue, the vast majority of our money comes from offshore. Probably half our income is from broadcast rights and 80% of that is offshore,” Lorgat confirmed, which explains why CSA can afford to push the development and spread of the game on free-to-air TV.
Even the relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India is looking more rosy, according to Lorgat, whose arch-nemesis, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the BCCI president, is in danger of being jailed for fraud and corruption.
“We’ve cleared some air with the BCCI and we’re in a better space with them. But the wheel has turned and now they have issues and are inward-looking,” Lorgat said.