TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE review panel Cricket SA (CSA) appointed to investigate the national team’s repeated failure to win major events has declared itself dead in the water.
Assembled in March, the group included 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, former SA test batsman Adam Bacher, sports physiologist Ross Tucker and CSA independent director Dawn Mokhobo.
But they have decided to disband and say they have informed CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat accordingly.
“We did begin our process as a panel and we were excited for the opportunity, not just for SA cricket but also because the process might have been an example to other sports of high performance review and strategy,” Tucker told TMG Digital on Wednesday.
“However, the panel no longer exists, as per a decision taken a week ago. There are many reasons, but we did begin work on it. But ultimately we couldn’t agree with CSA on issues related to scope, process, time and resources.
“We had an idea for what we should do and how. But we then had to make a decision about whether to continue or not, and that decision was to step down from the process.”
Asked on Wednesday what they were going to do about the situation, CSA did not respond. However, TMG Digital has learnt that news of the panel’s disbandment was not raised at a CSA board teleconference on Saturday despite the fact that it had happened three days earlier.
Moreover, board members had been discouraged from taking a decision on Russell Domingo’s future as SA’s coach until the review panel had presented its findings.
Last Wednesday, the same day the panel called it quits, Domingo departed for the Caribbean for SA’s one-day tournament against West Indies and Australia.
Domingo has drawn much of the criticism that has come SA’s way since their first-round exit from the World T20 in India in March.
“It goes without saying that we will need to do some sort of review,” Lorgat said after SA limped home from that tournament.
“We will do it objectively, we will do it smartly. It’s not knee-jerk. It’s not emotional stuff.
“We will do it properly and we will try to understand what we are not doing that will lead us to glory at ICC events.”
Lorgat first attempted to recruit another former Springbok captain, Morne du Plessis, who managed Pienaar’s team in 1995, to the panel. Du Plessis turned down the offer.
Now, it seems, the process will have to start again. And pressure is likely to come from further up the food chain.
“The minister trusts that CSA have the competency to deal with this issue,” sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s spokesperson, Esethu Hasane, said in April.
“But, at the conclusion of the review, CSA will report to the ministry. That is when the minister will get involved.”
Mbalula has already punished CSA for their slow pace of transformation by barring them from bidding to host major events until they darken the game sufficiently.
Now CSA find themselves between the rock of Mbalula’s determination and the hard place of looking as if they are struggling to follow through on the task of exposing the root cause of the national team’s problems.
The common thread is that CSA agreed to the transformation targets they have missed and that they made, unprompted, the promise to conduct a review of SA’s performances.
It’s time for CSA to get on with doing what they have said they will do.