CSA Is In Financial Turmoil Due To Pandemic:
The hopes of South Africa to steady its shaky finances with a visit from India are dwindling. They had planned to lure the most bankable team on cricket for this month’s T20I series, but that seems unlikely to happen now.
The banks of Cricket South Africa (CSA) were in sad condition long before the coronavirus pandemic posed an existential challenge to the global economy. At their annual meeting on September 5, the board is expected to announce a small profit, but losses that could increase to USD57.6-million by the end of the 2022 rights period continue to climb above the company.
So there were reasons to be optimistic when CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul said on May 21 at an online press conference: “We had a teleconference with India [the day before] and we are motivated by their commitment to honor the agreement to play the three T20s in August, and if that is postponed maybe a little later.”
That would put a dent of 10-million USD into the debt of CSA. But sources told a leading sports website on Friday that the money was withdrawn from the budget, which was included in the calculation of earnings for the coming months-a strong indication that the plan had become unlikely.
A smaller world cricket player like CSA was always going to struggle to secure the attention of the biggest earners of the game at a time when every other team is going to be desperate to do the same. But the relationship between CSA cricket director Graeme Smith and BCCI chairman Sourav Ganguly, which dates back to their playing days, may have made all the difference.
During the presser on May 21, the deal for India ‘s tour can only have been sweetened by Smith punting Ganguly for the world’s highest cricket office: “Leadership in our sport is going to be important, and having someone at a level who understands the modern game, understands the challenges that are going to be faced, emphasizes more the people who are putting themselves in key positions. I think the ICC chair is becoming a key position. It would be awesome to see such a cricket man as Sourav Ganguly get into the position of ICC president. That’ll be perfect for role play and perfect for modern game play. He gets it, he ‘s done it as the best, he’s valued, and his leadership is going to be crucial for us to move forward. This would be a perfect rendezvous.’
Ganguly ‘s lavish endorsement of Smith, which appeared sincere and unrehearsed and caught off guard his fellow suits, prompted CSA president Chris Nenzani to issue a rare public statement making it clear that Smith had spoken in his personal capacity.
Even then, the only confirmed fixtures on India ‘s schedule for the rest of the year are three T20Is in October and three Tests in December-all in Australia. This can still change but 10 windows are closing with the IPL running from September 19 to November. Perhaps the lesson is that bringing money into the bank needs more than conversations between two former players, even though they are figures of Smith and Ganguly’s stature.