Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


Food packs and punctuality: Prudent and positive signs for CSA

In so many ways, this is a new era for South African cricket.

It is a sign of the prudent financial belt-tightening that Cricket South Africa have been doing that the official press conference to introduce Enoch Nkwe as the new director of cricket on Friday was followed by food packs given to the media.

Five years ago, there would have been catered food on hand, but it was a jolly good food pack – potato chips, a chocolate bar, packet of biltong, sandwiches and wraps – and another sign that the new CSA administration are focusing on the basics of putting the game first and not on lavish displays that are more about camouflage than anything else.

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The other sign that CSA are heading in the right direction was that Nkwe and CEO Pholetsi Moseki, as well as Sipho Rihlamvu, the acting head of communications and media and the program director, were all in place and ready to go at 10.59am, the conference starting as advertised at 11am sharp. The blend of in-person attendance and virtual participants also worked seamlessly.

These are the sort of small things that speak to an organisation’s culture and professionalism and CSA have lately been consistently getting them right.

In good hands

Moseki made the point that “cricket is in good hands” and that certainly is the impression at the moment. The coming months will of course pose incredible challenges that are mostly due to the state of the country as a whole, especially the economy.

While Nkwe acknowledged the importance of the commercial side of cricket, his individual strengths are more directed towards the strategic side of the game itself and building structures and pipelines.

He succeeds Graeme Smith, such a major figure in world cricket, and someone who was more involved with international deal-making and making sure the Proteas remain in the top echelon of teams as far as the all-powerful broadcasters are concerned.

Nkwe will be more involved in domestic affairs, in the grassroots that are so desperately in need of revitalisation. He will be a different sort of director of cricket, but is certainly eminently qualified and skilled to be in that job.

The more financial side of running South African cricket will be handled in the boardroom, where there is now also ample ability.

New era

In so many ways, this is a new era for South African cricket. Out of the horrors and scorched earth tactics of the last few years, have come new shoots of green and gold hope.

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The last time there was a press conference at CSA’s Melrose Estate offices (which also started dead on time) it was to announce their partnership with Roc Nation that will bring a new emphasis on fans and their in-stadium experience, as well as the digital world that is now so important. This is also vital in this new age.

The Proteas are obviously CSA’s showpiece product and how they perform will be used to measure the efficiency of the organisation.

Even with a new leadership dynamic in place, head coach Mark Boucher now reporting to Nkwe, the initial signs are positive. There have even been reports of a new, more cordial relationship between the team and the CSA Board.

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For the players to successfully ply their trade against the best in the world, they need stability and assurance. There needs to be clarity and communication between them and their management and their administrators.

Boucher is famous for being a straight-talker and anyone who has spoken to Nkwe will know that he is a great communicator. It is heartening to hear that even the CSA board are no longer playing Broken Telephone or speaking with forked tongues.

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