TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
CRICKET South Africa (CSA) are “optimistic” that their prohibition on hosting major international events will be lifted when the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) release their transformation report on Tuesday.
Even so South Africans shouldn’t expect to see a tournament in their backyard for at least the next six years.
CSA were slapped with the ban by then sports minister Fikile Mbalula last April when the EPG found they had fallen short by 5% of the 60% target for black players in national teams, which had been agreed by sport and government suits.
In September CSA specified a 54% “average minimum” target of black players in South Africa’s teams for the season, 18% of them black African. That translates into six black players in an XI, two of them black African.
Since last year’s transformation report was released a total of 319 places have been available to players in teams for South Africa’s matches.
Of those 176 – or 55.17% – have gone to black players. Sixty-one of them – 19.12% – have been black African.
All good. But 55.17% is not the minister’s required 60%. What makes CSA think they will be in the EPG’s good books this time?
“We have engaged constructively with the EPG secretariat and the department to correct data errors and to develop a tailored scorecard for cricket,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Monday.
“We always believed that a ‘one size fits all’ scorecard does not work for cricket and we are pleased to have agreed a cricket specific scorecard.”
Which would seem a diplomatic way of saying the EPG’s auditing was faulty in the first place.
Not that CSA were about to to get into that kind of argument with an organisation that could make life difficult for them.
“We are optimistic of achieving good outcomes but we would not want to pre-empt anything at this stage,” Lorgat said.
“Regardless, we are committed to transformation and we will continue to engage with the ministry and other stakeholders to ensure we achieve our transformation goals.”
CSA should have a solid relationship with the EPG considering the sports ministry’s website lists the EPG’s secretariat as Willie Basson, who has served as CSA’s acting president and chaired their transformation committee.
But that didn’t stop last year’s prohibition, which would have stung a game that has maintained a stronger transformation ethic than other codes.
And transformation would appear to have been good for South Africa’s bottom line.
Of the 29 matches they have played across all formats since September, when CSA announced their targets, they won 22 and lost only five.
That made South Africa international cricket’s most successful side between September and March.
No team won more in that period and none lost less.
South Africa had five more victories than Australia despite playing three fewer games.
But the International Cricket Council (ICC) doesn’t reward sterling performances on the field with the awarding of tournament hosting rights.
Asked if there were any events on the horizon that CSA were planning to try and stage, Lorgat said, “No, there are no events.
“The ICC has already predetermined all ICC global events until 2023.”
Besides, the only prize for successful transformation should be a team that looks more like the nation it purports to represent than is currently the case.
Hosting tournaments pales next to that goal.