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Ken Borland



Is everyone there on merit? One wonders … 0

Posted on November 17, 2016 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has assured their stakeholders that selection for the national team will only be on merit and this week signed a new transformation agreement with Sascoc and the Department of Sports and Recreation in which they are apparently the only sporting code that has not agreed to quotas at the highest level.

CSA’s attitude is that the system must provide the national team with black players on merit, which is why they are aggressively pursuing quotas at domestic level.

It is also believed that CSA have met with the Proteas and have clarified with them that there was no interference in selection at the World Cup and that there won’t be targets in future.

But the squads announced for the tour of Bangladesh in July do make one wonder.

Reeza Hendricks and Aaron Phangiso have been picked for the Test squad, while Kagiso Rabada has leapfrogged Kyle Abbott in the fast-bowling pecking order.

I have the utmost respect as cricketers for them, but logic suggests the selectors were not looking at purely on-field performance in making these decisions.

Hendricks is undoubtedly a bright talent and I fully support him being involved in the limited-overs squads. But the figures show that Hendricks is not yet ready to be a Test opener. His first-class franchise batting average is just 34.55 with three centuries in 20 matches. Last season he averaged just 31.76, half what Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook managed.

Cook has scored 10 centuries in the last two seasons, while Cobras opener Andrew Puttick has averaged 49.27 and 40.23 in the last two Sunfoil Series season. The fact that these two prolific batsman can’t make the side when an opening batsman is required and yet someone whose performances in the same competition are far inferior only adds fuel to the fire that is raging around selection for the national team.

The cynic in me believes that Phangiso’s selection for the Test squad is to make up for the appalling manner in which he was treated at the World Cup that saw him not play a single game.

Both Phangiso and Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana have gone on record as saying that the 31-year-old still needs a lot of work in the longer format and five wickets at an average of 67 in the Sunfoil Series shows that is the case.

Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said that they wanted a left-arm spinner for the squad and there is a ready-made, experienced, proven option in Robin Peterson.

As far as Rabada goes, I am certain that he will be a great fast bowler for South Africa in all formats, but what has Abbott done wrong?

Lady Luck always has her say when it comes to cricket, but Abbott has been one of the most unfortunate players in the country for a while now.

As a unit, the Proteas have been exceptionally strong in the Test arena, but the pain of the World Cup loss was all too obvious and whether CSA’s clearing-the-air session with the players was enough remains to be seen. They maintain that the only affirmative action when it comes to selection is if there is a 50/50 choice between two players, then the player of colour will get the benefit.

Was Hendricks being preferred to Cook really a 50/50 call? Phangiso over Peterson and Rabada ahead of Abbott?

A Bangladesh tour was never exactly looked forward to and this time the challenges will be even greater on the field. The Proteas will be asked tougher questions than ever before by Bangladesh on their home turf, while questions still swirl around their selection.

 

Sam makes trumpet call against bloated sports department 0

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Ken

 

Sascoc president Gideon Sam has made a trumpet call for Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula to forge a more efficient administration in the fight for sporting transformation.

Sam, speaking at the Highveld Lions awards dinner this week, said Mbalula was presiding over a bloated administration that was deflecting money away from the effort to clear “historical backlogs” in sport.

“The minister of sport has a very small budget, hardly a billion rand, and that’s for his administration too. Each minister of sport inherits a huge staff and, because of the power of the unions, he dare not touch that staff. I compare it to Sascoc and I wonder why there are so many people in the department of sport and recreation? It has to be asked. It’s very hard for the minister to work people out and usually he brings in more of his own people as well.

“Politicians want to use sport for ‘social cohesion’, but that phrase is not in my dictionary. How can sport, which is so impoverished, do that? The truth is, if you really go into it, South African sport is not structured correctly. We’re not giving impoverished sportspeople, black and white, a fair chance,” Sam said.

Sam suggested the debate over World Cup selection was “deliberate, to try and throw stones at the administration and it takes us nowhere”, but he did acknowledge that there was growing frustration at much of the bureaucracy that surrounds transformation and funding.

“The federations apply, they fill in all those forms and they don’t even get an acknowledgement so they get fed up with the battle. Why should they concern themselves with transformation policy when they have to foot the bill themselves?”

The Sascoc president said the club player who could “afford a plane ticket and the price of accommodation in a hotel” was always going to make a team ahead of competitors who could not afford to travel to tournaments.

 

Geopolitical boundaries likely to be used in SA cricket 0

Posted on December 13, 2014 by Ken

Residents of Gauteng have become accustomed to three different cricket unions – the Gauteng Cricket Board, Northerns Cricket Union and Easterns Cricket Union – controlling the game in the province, but this is likely to change as Cricket South Africa accede to Sascoc’s demand that the sport be administered along the same lines as the geopolitical boundaries of the country.

People in the Cape can expect the same change as Eastern Province, Border and Kei will need to merge into a single Eastern Cape controlling body, while Western Province, Boland and South-Western Districts will need to do the same in the Western Cape.

That change is along already-existing franchise lines, and KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Northern Cape (Griqualand West team) will be in a similar position. But Gauteng will need to reorganise itself because there are two franchises – the Highveld Lions and Titans – based in that province.

CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat confirmed that the change is in the offing, but added that they can still keep their same franchise and competition structure.

“That’s the next big thing we are planning, we might have to change the demarcations of our unions to mirror the geopolitical boundaries. But we can still have the same franchises and semi-professional teams and it won’t affect our competitions.

“But we’ll need to have nine controlling bodies from each of the provinces. So the Lions and Titans can still play and be run as separate teams, but they’ll need to have an overall Gauteng board above them,” Lorgat explained to The Citizen at the announcement of Momentum’s R475 000 backing of the academy at the University of Fort Hare in Alice.

Lorgat was critical of government’s support for grassroots development at that function but said the new geopolitically-aligned structure can improve the relationship between CSA and the state.

“It can be beneficial because then the unions can go to provincial government as one entity. I think it will help because then the provincial government is just dealing with one board. At the moment, the Titans, Lions and Easterns all go to the Gauteng provincial government for assistance and maybe they don’t know who to help?” Lorgat said.

At the moment, government expects CSA to fill their teams with previously disadvantaged players, but offers scant support in terms of the infrastructure that is essential to achieving that. Even the academy at Fort Hare, in the heartland of Black African cricket, has received nothing from the state.

“People think transformation is about black and white, but in my view Lance Klusener and Dale Steyn are both transformation products because they come from remote, rural areas. If it wasn’t for these programs, like our joint venture at the University of Fort Hare, then these jewels would not be found. We have not yet unlocked the potential in our country,” Lorgat said.

 

Non-independents to still hold sway in CSA 0

Posted on January 22, 2013 by Ken

The board of Cricket South Africa on Wednesday announced that non-independent, “amateur” directors would continue to form the majority in their new structure, complying with the wishes of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

A special general meeting agreed at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Wednesday that the restructured board would comprise five independent directors and seven non-independent directors for a period of 18 months following the AGM on February 2, after which the board would be expanded to include seven independent directors and nine non-independent representatives from each of the national provinces.

“Initially, the seven non-independent directors will come from the ranks of the presidents of the affiliates, before following the due geo-political regions. Of course we are not entirely happy with this, our goal was to have a 5-5 split of directors, but as a member of Sascoc we have to fulfil their criteria and they are very clear about that,” acting president Willie Basson said after the meeting.

“Rugby and cricket will face huge practical problems implementing this, but the new board will continue to engage with Sascoc because we don’t want to set up conflict with them. But we will also try to ensure the board is not too unwieldy.”

Basson said even though non-independent administrators would be in the majority, contrary to the recommendations of the Nicholson Inquiry, the views and skills of independent voices would still be heard on the board.

“We are the only sports body in the country that has as significant a number of independent directors and that will definitely impact the way the board operates in the future. The independent directors will bring greater objectivity and their skills base to the board,” Basson said.

As proposed in the King III report on corporate governance, a lead independent director will be elected to act as a guide for the chairperson of the board. The president of CSA will act as the chairperson of the board.

“The president will have ultimate authority, without question, as recommended by King III and Sascoc is adamant about that as well. The independent, lead director is appointed in case there is conflict between the president and the board and it is a good governance principle,” Basson said.

Basson confirmed that he will continue to act as acting president until the AGM, despite suggestions the board may ask him to step down in the wake of allegations he was involved in Apartheid-era chemical warfare programs.

“I will carry on until the AGM having explained myself for the umpteenth time to the board and they accepted my explanation. It’s very simple: I had been involved for two years in the 1980s with the defensive side of chemical research and since just before 1994 in exactly the same area for the present government structures,” Basson said.



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