Come clean with the public. Get rid of those responsible. Don’t do it again.
TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
“DOABLE?” It isn’t often, in this reporter’s experience, that someone as overtly confident as Haroon Lorgat asks questions like that.
But, with a sharply curious glint in his eye, he had asked, and this reporter was among several present who, either verbally or noddingly, answered: “Oh yes.”
How wrong we all were.
It was the afternoon of June 19 in the kind of London hotel that charges extraordinary prices for ordinary coffee.
All around us as we stood there the debris from the launch of the T20 Global League (T20GL) was being cleared with crass efficiency. It had been a tacky, overblown affair, but what about T20 isn’t?
Lunch was on the house for all, but the champagne was for the exclusive quaffing of franchise owners. Or so we were told.
Four months on the fizz has gone and what’s being cleared is not tinsel and tables but the tournament itself. For a year, at least. And who is going to touch these damaged goods then?
Lorgat had asked whether the T20GL was “doable”. Considering his expertise and experience, and Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) proven talent for pulling rabbits out of hats like this, there was only one answer, the aforementioned, “Oh yes.”
Trouble is, you need a hat — which was whisked away on Tuesday when, with Lorgat unceremoniously removed from the equation as well as his job as CSA’s chief executive, his replacement in an acting capacity, Thabang Moroe, declared it a “no-brainer” that a venture that was already losing millions and would haemorrhage millions more should be put on ice.
And that just four days after he had said, “I will serve CSA with pride and make sure we deliver on the promises we’ve made as far as the country’s concerned, and that promise is delivering this league.
“We will start on November 3.”
Moroe seems unlike cricket’s other suits, and in good ways. He is accessible, tries not to talk around corners, and, when he is pissed off with you, tells you why.
Endearingly, the jersey he wore to a press conference in Bloemfontein last Friday was ripped in the left armpit. You couldn’t imagine the tautly tailored Lorgat out and about in such a state.
But, as CSA’s vice-president and a member — along with independent directors Louis von Zeuner and Iqbal Khan — of the sub-committee established specifically to keep the T20GL’s cards close to CSA’s chest, at Moroe’s desk is where this stinking zombie of a buck now stops.
Simply, did he and the rest of CSA grow a brain between last Friday and Tuesday? What was it about the secrecy in which, they have said, Lorgat shrouded his T20GL dealings that did not ring alarm bells months ago?
It’s not good enough for CSA to say they didn’t know what tricks Lorgat was turning behind their backs, and that they took action once they did know.
You are spending not a little money and committing serious amounts of other resources to an ambitious and important project, and you don’t demand to know what’s going on at every step? What the hell is wrong with you?
As much as CSA are trying to pin this rap on Lorgat — and they are trying conspicuously hard — they cannot escape their own failings in what has snowballed into a cautionary saga of what happens bullshit baffles brains.
Come clean with the cricketminded public. Get rid of those responsible. Don’t do it again.