• ICC must break silence

    The International Cricket Council must publicly pressure Cricket South Africa into decisive remedial action, writes RYAN VREDE.

    To date, cricket’s global governing body has watched from the sidelines as South African cricket descends into chaos.

    That is not to say that it doesn’t feel deeply distressed and concerned by the madness that has befallen the game in this country.

    Indeed, according to this website’s sources inside the ICC, there have been private discussions at executive board level to develop a gameplan to deal with different scenarios that could unfold, including what punitive action will follow any government intervention in the game.

    Such intervention is not permitted under the ICC’s constitution, and carries with this a ban from all forms of cricket. Zimbabwe were punished in this way in 2019, after that country’s government removed the cricket board for alleged corruption. The ban was lifted after three months, during which time the ICC froze all funding.

    The ICC has already written to CSA to express its concern that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), essentially a government institution formed to have oversight of all sports federations in South Africa, has seemingly moved to take over the running of cricket.

    Aware of what that could mean for CSA in the context of the ICC, Sascoc dismissed reports that it had asked CSA’s board to step aside, insisting the body is merely intervening in an advisory and oversight capacity.

    However, despite their public offerings, tensions between Sascoc and CSA continue to grow, with the latter’s refusal to make public the forensic report into the running of CSA the main stressor. It feels like it is only a matter of time before the facade of friendliness falls away and Sascoc flexes its muscles, taking an instructive stance.

    At this point, the ICC will move to ban South Africa from international cricket, because no matter how you dress it up, Sascoc is, at the very least, a government-affiliated body.

    But like CSA, the ICC serves the game, it doesn’t own it, and thus has a responsibility to the global cricket fraternity to call its affiliates – especially a giant like South Africa – into line publicly before things escalate to the point where it institutes a ban.

    I understand that the ICC wants to respect South African cricket’s sovereignty. But the kingdom has crumbled and the game’s highest governing body has a responsibility to help heal and rehabilitate CSA.

    The ICC, headed by former Proteas wicketkeeper Dave Richardson, has a mandate to ensure its affiliates are given all the support they need to effectively serve the game in their respective countries. They shouldn’t be watching from the shadows, only acting once a rule breach occurs.

    The South African cricket fraternity needs CSA to feel the full weight of their incompetence and be moved to act decisively to remedy their failings.

    The ICC’s voice is critical to this.

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    Ryan Vrede