Cricket South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith says the ICC needs urgent leadership improvement after the cancellation of the Australia tour.
Cricket Australia pulled the plug on a proposed Test tour of South Africa in March, costing CSA a lot of money in the process.
The Australians cited concerns over Covid-19 as the reason for their decision, despite CSA offering a very secure bio-bubble environment.
Smith told reporters on Monday that CSA and CA need to re-establish engagement in order to fix a wounded relationship.
‘The relationship is definitely strained at this stage. There is an effort, certainly from our side, to engage and to set up a meeting more at board level now. More than anything, the ICC needs to have strong leadership going forward. I believe Covid is even amplifying the haves and have-nots and the relationships across the board and how cricket’s future landscape is going to be handled,’ Smith said.
The decision was met with huge disappointment from CSA and the South African cricket fraternity, prompting CSA to send a letter of concern to the ICC.
The pandemic has led to a lot of cancelled and postponed tours across the world, which will test the ICC’s ability to adjust and accommodate more than just the ‘Big Three’ – India, Australia and England.
‘The FTP [Future Tours Programme] is going to be a hugely challenging thing with potentially eight ICC tournaments in eight years – an extended IPL. A lot of the calendar, dominated by certainly India, England and Australia, makes it extremely challenging for the rest of the member nations. When things happen like that, it just amplifies that stress on nations like us and the other members that are looking for good content. I think engagement needs to happen to improve things between South Africa and Australia.
‘We’ve had some initial engagements with the operational side of Cricket Australia and it hasn’t been positive on trying to find a window but we are working hard on it,’ Smith continued.
In the letter to the ICC, CSA stipulated a number of financial concerns that affects smaller members when a tour is cancelled.
According to Smith, it is now more important than ever that the ICC understands such an impact and addresses the issue going forward.
‘The game needs leadership right now. It needs understanding complexities. I don’t think world cricket wants three nations competing against each other in ten years’ time. How does that benefit the game? It doesn’t. That will then amplify the leagues and leagues will then just get bigger and bigger. The rest of the member nations will then have little to no content.
‘The leadership at the ICC needs to address these issues now. They are becoming more and more relevant. I think the ICC found themselves a little off-guard with some of these issues now,’ he added.