Graeme Smith to become director of cricket but crisis goes on
Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith is set to become the national director of cricket, according to Cricket SA (CSA) president Chris Nenzani, but the crisis in the administration of the sport continues with Nenzani and other board members refusing to heed calls to resign.
Tony Irish, CEO of the SA Cricketers Association (Saca), which called on Friday for Nenzani and the entire board to resign, said in a tweet: “Appalled that the president and board of CSA have taken no responsibility for cricket’s biggest crisis. Now clinging to power.”
Asked for clarification, Irish described his tweet as “my initial reaction”. He said Saca was likely to make a detailed response.
Nenzani said he had spoken to Smith on Saturday morning.
“I am happy to announce that we have engaged Graeme Smith and I am confirming that by next week Wednesday all of the negotiations around the contract terms that need to take place would have been concluded,” said Nenzani, speaking after a special board meeting of CSA.
Smith will have just over two weeks to put a selection panel and coaching staff in place before the first of four Tests against England, starting at Centurion on December 26.
Despite calls for their resignation, Nenzani said the board had been mandated by the CSA’s members’ council — made up of presidents of the 14 provincial affiliates — “to continue to guide us through this period and turn it around”.
Saturday’s press conference came after a tumultuous week during which five journalists had their accreditation withdrawn, a sponsor announced it would not renew its agreement with CSA and CEO Thabang Moroe was suspended on charges of misconduct.
Several prominent individuals, as well as the Gauteng cricket board and Saca, called for the CSA board to resign.
However, Nenzani said the issue had not been raised at a meeting of the members’ council in a meeting which started on Friday evening and continued until early on Saturday. He brushed off the resignations of three of the board’s five independent directors.
“We thank them for their service and will engage in a process to fill the vacancies,” he said.
Nenzani said that Jacques Faul, CEO of the Northerns cricket union and a former acting CEO of CSA, had agreed to again become the acting CEO with immediate effect.
Nenzani confirmed that former International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson would work closely with Faul as a consultant.
Nenzani said he had approached Richardson to take over on a full-time basis for six months, but the former Proteas wicketkeeper indicated that he was not available because he had just returned to SA and wanted to spend time with his family.
“We had a discussion with Dave and he made it clear that he would have loved to take up the opportunity, but he has just returned from the ICC‚” Nenzani said.
“He has plans and feels that it was going to be difficult to take over the job on a full-time basis. However‚ he is willing and able to help whoever we put in during this period and share his experiences.”
Faul said he knew he would have to hit the ground running.
“Cricket SA is currently negotiating with sponsors. There is never a time where we don’t engage with people. We have to ask them what it will take to get them involved with us. It is something we want to get right‚” he said.
Richardson said he was pleased to be involved and would share his experiences.
“I am glad that Jacques has agreed to take this position on a full-time basis for the coming six months. He is the best man for the job‚” Richardson said. “I will be there to provide guidance and support whenever necessary. He [Faul] is a tremendous implementer and we will make a good team because he gets things done.
“I have done 17 years or so with the ICC and I didn’t want to get into something on a full-time basis.” /with Mahlatse Mphahlele
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