England’s ODI tour of South Africa set to go ahead – despite cancellation fears – with Cricket South Africa’s Members Council holding a meeting later TODAY to decide interim board as administrative chaos continues
England’s white ball tour of South Africa could be aborted less than 72 hours before Eoin Morgan and his men are due to fly from London to Cape Town on a chartered plane – unless the hosts are able to sort out their disastrous administration.
Retired Constitutional Court judge, Zaq Yacoob, was appointed as chairman of an Interim Board of mostly independent directors two weeks ago after the discredited original board was forced to resign en masse.
But Cricket South Africa’s Members Council, comprising the 12 presidents of the cricket unions, refused on Thursday to recognise the Interim Board and said it was seizing back control of the despite an express order from the Minister of Sport, Nathie Mthethwa.
Eoin Morgan and his England ODI and T20 squads are due to fly to South Africa next week
‘I don’t know what the thinking is in England, but I have no doubt that if the Members Council doesn’t take a proper decision this evening England will probably be seriously discouraged from coming,’ Yacoob told an online press conference on Friday.
The Members Council are scheduled to meet at 5:00pm UK time on Friday.
‘The Members Council and the executive have been arrogant, uncooperative, unresponsive and sometimes downright rude in their dealings with us,’ Yacoob said. ‘They broke their promise to ratify the Interim Board made two weeks ago. There is no chance of them self-correcting, barring a miracle.’
SA Cricketers Association chief executive, Andrew Breetzke, said: ‘We are back to square one, and the glimmer of hope has now been replaced by further disappointment and confusion. At a time when our domestic cricketers are excelling, and we are about to welcome England to our shores, the governance structures of CSA are again in crisis.
‘Self-interest and politics are continuing to triumph over the best interests of cricket, at a time when the game is crying out for stability and certainty. It would appear as if the Members’ Council do not realise the extent of the damage being done to cricket, and sadly we are reaching a point where that damage may be irreparable.’
‘We have been in this state of crisis for over 18 months, and the window of opportunity to change direction is closing fast,’ Breetzke said.
England are due to play three T20 and three ODIs in South Africa starting on November 27
In a letter to the Members Council Mthethwa made it clear that he was in no mood to compromise: ‘I have yet to exercise my powers of intervention…the game of cricket is in a state of complete disarray and my intervention in terms of the (law) would not only be warranted, but would also be justified.
‘I would be failing in my statutory and constitutional duty not to intervene in what is nothing other than the poor governance of a sport which is a national asset and which belongs to the people of South Africa.’
All of the logistics for England’s tour, comprising three T20 Internationals and three ODIs at Newlands and Boland Park in Paarl, are in place. They are due to spend 10 days in semi-quarantine at a luxury hotel close to Newlands and play two days of intra-squad warm-ups before the first international on November 27.
The tour is still likely to go ahead – the Minister is acutely aware of CSA’s dire finances – but it may require some of the sport’s most pig-headed administrators to swallow their pride and step aside.