Cricket South Africa has been advised to formulate a strategy to minimise or stop the loss of ‘’players of national interest’’.
This is one of the seven recommendations coming from the National Team Review Panel, focused on the Proteas and high performance environments.
While the panel has been working for some time on its recommendations, the issue could not have come at a more pertinent time, with the loss of several high-profile players on Kolpak contracts.
CSA needs to build a common and shared purpose that all stakeholders subscribe to in order to address the issues that led to the erosion of the culture within the Protea team, said the panel. And a role must be found for former players in an environment where they feel included and can be used as a resource to share skills and experiences.
The panel called for the appointment of a Director of Cricket, whose function will largely be to oversee the performance of the Protea Team with ‘ultimate accountability on all issues relating to the performance of the teams at the pinnacle of the sport in South Africa’.
It also wanted the convenor of selectors to hold a permanent position ‘with defined responsibilities for selection as well as talent identification in South African cricket and realign the workings of the selection panel’.
Consideration should be given to contracting franchise coaches to the CSA and to develop coaches who have the role of improving the pipeline of players to the Proteas.
The Review Panel also emphasised the importance of transformation if the Proteas were to make the fullest use of the playing resources available to them and thus have the best chance of winning major events.
A statement from CSA said; ‘A strong point was made that transformation needs to be widely embraced – and from the lowest levels to the highest. Here, the sentiment was that it should not be a ‘numbers game’ which leads to a focus on the numbers instead of the root causes of the problem.
Rather, it should be something that is tackled holistically throughout the system – and this calls for a deep-seated mind shift for all involved in cricket for it to be sustainable. Essentially, we will only know that we have the strongest team possible on the field if there has been equal access for all.’
The report was also submitted in a Domestic Cricket Review which was commissioned to ensure the right balance is achieved between player opportunity or access and performance excellence. With this in mind their report recommends a seventh franchise be considered and that the size of each franchise squad be limited to 15 players.
The recommendation was discussed at a recent CSA Cricket Committee meeting and is due to be considered by the Board at its next meeting at the end of January.
‘We are already in the process of rolling out new coaching structures and individual player performance plans after the Board approved funding in excess of R100m over the next four years,’ said CEO Haroon Lorgat.
The National Teams Review Panel consisted of: Adam Bacher (former Proteas player); Iqbal Khan (CSA Independent Board member); Francois Pienaar (World Cup winning Springbok rugby captain) and Mthobi Tyamzashe (former acting chief executive of SRSA and former executive director of the National Sports Council). The panel were supported by an advisory panel consisting of: Francois Hugo (FirstRand HR Executive); Tony Irish (Chief Executive, SA Cricketers’ Association); Gary Kirsten (former Proteas player and coach); and Graeme Smith (former Proteas captain).