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Ken Borland



Cricket Australia hardly a spokesman for successful player relationships 0

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Ken

 

As a spokesman for maintaining successful relationships with their players, Cricket Australia would hardly seem to be the first people one would ask for advice, but that is what the Cricket South Africa leadership have elected to do as they approach negotiations with their own players on their new memorandum of understanding.

The revenue-sharing model that has underpinned the memorandum of understanding the players have had with CSA for the last 12 years will come to the end of its four-year cycle in April and fresh negotiations with the players’ union, the South African Cricketers’ Association, are set to start within the next month.

Astonishingly, considering that Cricket Australia spent most of the year trying to ward off a strike by their own players that threatened the Ashes, acting CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe has confirmed that they will be seeking Cricket Australia’s advice in how to contract players.

Cricket Australia received a bloody nose when all their players stood together to stop the administrators from hogging all the new money coming in from the Big Bash, instead ensuring that every state cricketer, both male and female, enjoyed a share of the riches.

It seems only fair that the players should share in the revenue that is accrued mostly due to their talents, but that’s not how Moroe sees things judging by his ill-considered comments just after Christmas about CSA making the money and not the players, who are basically employees who must do what they are told.

For CSA to say they make the money is simply outrageous, considering the amount of money that has been wasted due to their own negligence in the T20 Global League false-start, for which cricket in this country will be paying for a long time.

An antagonistic approach to the players is also extremely shortsighted because there are so many opportunities abroad now for the players, options that will pay up to four times more than they can earn here in South Africa. Many of our top stars are only staying because they feel a responsibility towards the game and for the younger players coming through the system, an attitude that is engendered by the revenue-sharing model that makes them stakeholders in the overall welfare of the sport.

Cricket South Africa are heading for a collision course with their most valuable – and sought-after – assets if the approach so brazenly bellowed out by their leadership is carried into negotiations.

There is a certain old-fashioned naivety about their strident apporoach because they really cannot compete with overseas offers on an economic basis so they really need to keep their players happy.

Similarly, the implication that they will convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India to release their players for the T20 Global League because they will threaten to prevent South African players from participating in the IPL is outlandish. Preventing our best stars from maximising their earnings in the best-paid league in the world will simply chase them away permanently to foreign shores.

A mass exodus of top players would be a disastrous setback for the game, leading to a huge loss in earning from sponsors and broadcasters – the Proteas are currently still an attraction because of the world-class stars they possess – and would ultimately stymie any plans CSA have for the further development of the game.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20180106/282355450131976

CSA need to put their faith in building the base, not quick riches 0

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Ken

 

Two not entirely unconnected happenings in the world of cricket caught my eye this week: The first was an article (http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/1098043.html) on CricInfo about the looming player strike in Australia and how the relationship between their administration and their players has almost entirely broken down; the second was that Cricket Australia’s executive manager of broadcast, digital and commercial, Ben Amarfio, had come to South Africa and briefed local cricket stakeholders on their successes, in particular the Big Bash League.

The irony of the situation is that although the Big Bash League has been an enormous success in terms of crowds and television revenue, the damage it is doing to all other aspects of Australian cricket reminds one of the south Indian proverb that “nothing grows under the shade of the Banyan tree”.

The T20 competition might be going through the roof, but the rest of Australian cricket is not exactly excelling: results have been indifferent and the players are about to go on strike! The temptation to copy what they are doing should be resisted.

The dollar signs are already rolling in the eyes of Cricket South Africa when it comes to the new Global Destination T20 League that will debut on our shores next summer, but the actual economics of the event have been poorly communicated to many of the stakeholders who will hand over control of their stadia and players for the duration of the competition.

The state of the game in this country is currently strong, and CEO Haroon Lorgat was a well-deserved winner of the Leadership in Sport Business award at this week’s Sports Industry Awards, but the danger still exists that the lower levels of the sport, the foundation, will be ignored in favour of the riches that could suddenly become available.

We all know the immense damage done to the reputation of Cricket South Africa following the hosting of the IPL in 2009 and the money-grabbing associated with it, but our administrators seem to have short memories; how else can one explain the presence of disgraced former CEO Gerald Majola as an honoured guest, seated in the front row, at their own awards ceremony last week?

At the same awards dinner, it was noticeable that the prize for the best scorers association, previously included in the professional operations section along with the umpires, had been demoted to the amateur awards given out at the breakfast earlier on the same day. It may seem like a trivial matter – but it was certainly a slight felt by the scorers, who are an integral part of the game, just like umpires. It points to a lingering suspicion that CSA might just be undervaluing their foundations, the domestic base.

It is a fact that the best organisations look after the interests of all their people – their employees and stakeholders – and a prime example of this is the Northerns Cricket Union, who also held their awards luncheon this week.

Their Titans team is the best in the country, winning two trophies last season and narrowly missing out on the third, and that is partly because of the superb administrative structures that support the on-field performance. The Northerns team is also the dominant force in senior provincial competitions.

The administration is happy and productive because every person is treated well and with enormous respect; they are made to feel part of the success of the union and franchise. There is no greater measure of this than the fact that all the grounds staff, dressed in their Sunday best, were invited to the luncheon and the hug and kiss CEO Jacques Faul received from one of the housekeeping staff when she received her certificate.

Faul is an outstanding CEO who makes every one of his staff feel valued, and that is the secret to getting the best out of people, and the strong relationship between him and president John Wright, a true servant of sport, is also vital.

Cricket South Africa need to be warned that there is a danger of prioritising money over people and the overall well-being of the game of which they are trustees; when things are going well is probably the right time for this reminder.

*Altaaf Kazi, CSA’s head of media and communications, has pointed out, however, in response to this column that the scorers were never previously honoured during the live TV broadcast segment of the awards, whereas this year their award presentation from the breakfast was shown live on SuperSport. The reshuffling was due to the pleasing inclusion of three extra awards for women’s cricket.



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