The Mzansi Super League has long been a contentious thorn in Cricket South Africa’s backside and as much as they were able to successfully get it off the ground in 2018, the spotlight will be lit heavily on the 2019 edition, writes Philasande Sixaba.
Although the organization’s board have forecasted losses for SA’s flagship T20 tournament, the fact of the matter is that Thabang Moroe and Co. will be desperate to see the tournament leverage some sort of success in terms of the standard of cricket, bums on seats and for the relevant parties to actually pay players for their efforts in the campaign point of view.
It’s no secret that CSA have been under enormous pressure on and off the field of late.
The recent 3-0 Test series whitewash of the Proteas away to India has had the cricket loving public questioning the commitment of the players.
Arguably the most pressure has come from inside the boardroom where a public squabble with the Players Association (SACA) has been nothing short of disappointing and unsavory. SACA has recently taken CSA to court for unpaid player fees for the first installment of the MSL last year, which has resulted in Interim Director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl, Chief Operations Officer Nasaai Appiah and Marketing Manager Clive Eksteen all being suspended.
While there is an ongoing tussle over CSA’s plans to restructure domestic cricket actually benefits the livelihoods of professional players or not.
Considering all those boardroom challenges, CSA now finds itself in a difficult position to make sure that MSL 2.0 runs smoothly with some kind of tanglible success.
The one good thing about MSL 2.0 so far is that it has garnered interest from more quality international players who will be available to the six teams for a longer period of time than the previous year. There’s a strong English contingent that will be spread out throughout the teams with full England International Moeen Ali being the main attraction as he is set to offer his experience to last year’s finalists the Cape Town Blitz.
They have also started the competition a week earlier than last year, with an 8 November meeting with kickoff as opposed to the 16th of November. That allows the teams to have their international stars for much longer than previously.
If CSA can pull off a successful MSL campaign it will go a long way in relieving some of the organisational pressure it finds itself under but that can not be the only saving grace CSA looks too. The board has to clean up house as much as possible.
The quietness of President Chris Nenzani who was re-elected after CSA amended its constitution for the election of office bearers, has been rather worrisome while CEO Moroe’s increasing power has also been frowned upon.
Cricket in South Africa needs to return to a healthy state and for that to happen, the board needs to work together to fix its administration challenges.
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