South African cricket has lost its position of influence in the global game, according to both the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Interim Board and the minister of sport, which is part of the reason they have been treated with such disdain by Cricket Australia (CA).
CSA have lodged an official complaint against CA with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over Australia’s failure to honour their commitment to a Test tour that was meant to start on February 24, ostensibly due to fears over Covid-19.
But South African cricket, now represented by the acting president of the Members Council, Rihan Richards, have reportedly lost their voice in the ICC hallways of power so it would be no surprise if their calls for compensation fall on deaf ears.
“South Africa have always enjoyed a position of prominence in international cricket, but of late it seems their standing is the opposite of that,” sports minister Nathi Mthethwa said in his opening comments during a virtual report-back session with the Interim Board on Friday.
And Interim Board member Haroon Lorgat, a former CEO of the ICC, added: “CSA has lost its place of prestige in the ICC, which is no surprise because there has been so much internal struggle in South African cricket and therefore a lack of focus on affairs at the ICC. That has allowed an imbalance in world cricket and we have a long way to restore our reputation.
“CA has been referred by us, but there are hints that The Big Three might reform themselves. CSA needs to get their house in order in order to return to a position of influence.”
Dr Stavros Nicolaou, the chairman of the Interim Board, said the likely complete cancellation of the Australian tour showed CSA needed to work on establishing stronger relationships with countries like India.
“I’m not sure we’re going to be able to postpone the Australian tour to a suitable date even though we consulted widely with their medical team and their medical experts,” Nicolaou said.
“The balance of power in international cricket has been brought into question. We need to strengthen our strategic position and we need to tap into our other relationships with India, for example through BRICS.
“There was extensive consultation with CA and we made significant upgrades to our biosecure bubble, acceded to all of their demands. Then at the beginning of the month they advised us the tour would not proceed which was extremely disappointing.
“They said we had hit the peak of our second wave and our strain was more virulent, but on the day they notified us, we had a 75% reduction in cases and our strain is not more virulent but more contagious.”