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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.

Hansen not concerned with winning streak 0

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Ken

It’s been three long years since the All Blacks lost to the Springboks – and 22 Tests since their previous defeat against anyone (v England at Twickenham on 1 December 2012) – but their coach Steve Hansen is not as concerned with maintaining the winning streak as he is with delivering a quality performance on Saturday at Ellis Park.

Of course, he is in the lovely position of not having to worry if they lose on Saturday, while Bok coach Heyneke Meyer will bear the full brunt of the public’s obsession with beating the number one side in the world for the first time in six attempts.

“For us, it’s not about the winning streak but about the quality of performance, that’s hugely important. Our heads need to be in the right place, our preparation is about getting that right, and then Saturday is fun time.

“But it’s no fun if you don’t play well. But we have a quite a bit of talent in this group and if we play as well as we can, then it will take a good team to beat us,” Hansen said on Thursday.

With some people, including former coach Graham Henry, warning that the All Blacks are setting themselves up for a fall at the World Cup, there have even been suggestions that defeat might be good for New Zealand. Hansen dismissed such notions.

“I’ve never concurred with people saying you need to lose to learn. It hurts to lose, so why do you want to go through that to learn? We learn when we review games that maybe we should have lost, but we won.

“People say sometimes you have to get burnt to learn, but you can tell a flame is hot, you don’t need to put your hand in it,” Hansen said.

The All Blacks coach said Saturday’s Test would be decided by the tight fives and injury has forced the visitors to go with relative rookies at loosehead prop and tighthead lock.

Wyatt Crockett withdrew from selection with bad cuts to the face and has been replaced by Crusaders prop Joe Moody, who comes to his first Test start with a junior commonwealth games bronze medal in wrestling to his name.

Jeremy Thrush will partner with Sam Whitelock in the second row after Brodie Retallick failed to recover from concussion.

The 26-year-old Moody seemed pretty relaxed and was even able to make a subtle dig at his opposite number, the vastly-experienced Jannie du Plessis.

“Jannie is a bit different to what we normally get in New Zealand, he attacks the hooker much more, while our tightheads normally scrum straighter. But we’ve done our homework and I’m sure the scrums will go well,” Moody said.

The All Blacks’ winning streak is about thorough preparation and supreme conditioning, but it’s also about the character of the players under pressure, as Hansen stressed.

“We’ve been able to keep our composure in really tight situations, but we’ve had a bit of luck as well. We practise the moment without pressure so we can do it under pressure. As a group, this team has shown it is mentally strong and has great composure,” Hansen said.

All Blacks team: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Ben Smith, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Malakai Fekitoa, 11-Julian Savea, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw, 6-Jerome Kaino, 5-Samuel Whitelock, 4-Jeremy Thrush, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Keven Mealamu, 1-Joe Moody. Reserves – 16-Dane Coles, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Charlie Faumuina, 19-Steven Luatua, 20-Liam Messam, 21-Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22-Colin Slade, 23-Ryan Crotty.

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