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Ken Borland



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.

Titans strike it big with Elgar signing 0

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans have made arguably the biggest strike in the domestic transfer market by securing the services of top-order batsman Dean Elgar for the next two seasons, chief executive Jacques Faul confirmed yesterday.

The Knights left-hander is on the verge of becoming a Test regular following the retirement of Graeme Smith and he has a first-class average of 43.69 and a List A average of 37.61, plus a strike-rate of 110.15 with a great average of 38.96 in T20 cricket.

“Dean is the kind of player we need at the Titans, he’s gutsy, well-respected in South African cricket and he gives it his all. He’s a helluva player in all three formats, but especially in four-day cricket. At the moment we’re playing guys who are averaging in the 20s, which is not what we want. Dean is a special player and he gives us lots of options,” Faul told The Pretoria News yesterday.

And it would appear to be a good bet that Elgar hits top form for the Titans because Smith’s absence has now given him the chance to cement a regular place for himself in the national team, as evidenced by Cricket South Africa’s decision to give him a contract once the Test skipper retired.

“If he performs at our level then he will become a permanent fixture in the national team. But he must do well for us first and I believe he’ll be fresh, hungry and wanting to prove himself. He’s wanted to come here for a long time and he’s one of the guys who has always been keen to play for his franchise,” Faul said.

While the 26-year-old Elgar is a high-quality signing that will make a real difference to the Titans team, the ambitious franchise did not stop there and also targeted fellow Proteas Ryan McLaren and Quinton de Kock.

McLaren – who Faul complimented on his “honest” negotiations – has been confirmed as a Dolphins player for next season, while De Kock is most likely to remain as a marquee player for the Titans’ Gauteng rivals, the Highveld Lions.

“Obviously we wanted to strengthen the squad but franchises do make counter-offers and sometimes guys are not as serious about moving as they say,” Faul said.

The Titans are also in negotiations with Jacques Rudolph,who wants to be considered as only a limited-overs player next season, and Faul was optimistic that there would be a good outcome, describing the left-handed top-order batsman as “another special player”.

Seamer CJ de Villiers has been sent on his way, while paceman Junior Dala, currently on loan from the Lions, will be joining the Titans full-time next season.

Other high-flying youngsters being rewarded with improved deals are batsman Graeme van Buuren (rookie contract) and Tukkies star Theunis de Bruyn (semi-pro).

Despite the hype around SA U19 captain Aiden Markram, the batsman will have to make do with a contract from the University of Pretoria for the time being.

“Aiden is a very talented young player, very level-headed and smart, and the sort of guy we want to hang on to. But we literally don’t have space because we’re only allowed to contract a certain number of players. We have other former SA U19 stars like Murray Coetzee and Theunis at Tukkies and my best advice to Aiden is to stay patient,” Faul said.

Other big-name moves in franchise cricket include Lions spinner Eddie Leie moving to the Knights, along with Cobras T20 star Richard Levi, and Dolphins left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi possibly going to the Cobras.



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