Graeme Smith 's Final Talks' To Be CSA'is Director Of Cricket > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Graeme Smith in 'final talks' to become CSA's director of cricket

If appointed, Smith will be CSA's first director of cricket.

If appointed, Smith will be CSA's first director of cricket.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have pinned their hopes on Graeme Smith and Jacques Faul to try and stop the bleeding, in effect calling back the past to try and forge a better future from the wreckage of a calamitous present.

At a press conference in Johannesburg on Saturday, CSA said Smith was on course to become their first director of cricket while Faul had been appointed acting chief executive. Smith was South Africa's captain from 2003 to 2014 and took them to the No. 1 Test ranking. Faul guided CSA out of another crisis by serving in the same position in 2012 and 2013. But what many will see as the biggest obstacle to progress, CSA's board, have resisted attempts to remove them.

Smith had been in talks with CSA but on Monday he said, for the second time, that he had pulled out of joining their staff. His agreement to come on board is understood to have been conditional on the absence from CSA of Thabang Moroe, the chief executive. That door was opened on Friday when Moroe was suspended over what CSA termed "allegations of misconduct, pending further investigations", a decision that followed "reports received by the social and ethics committee and the audit and risk committee of the board related to possible failure of controls in the organisation".

Chris Nenzani, CSA's president, said on Saturday that Smith was close to shaking hands on a deal: "We have engaged him and he has agreed that, by next week Wednesday, all the negotiations around the contract terms that need to take place will have been concluded."

Smith has little administrative experience, but the respect he earned in a stellar playing and captaincy career would lend integrity to organisation that has squandered that vital commodity. Faul, currently chief executive of the Titans franchise and among the most experienced and respected administrators in South Africa, stepped in when CSA suspended former chief executive Gerald Majola over undeclared bonuses - he was eventually sacked - and remains a trusted and highly regarded figure.

But the survival of CSA's current board, despite eight provinces resolving on Thursday that they should be dismissed, will disappoint legions of cricketminded South Africans. Saturday's press conference followed a CSA board meeting, which came after a gathering in Johannesburg on Friday of the members council - CSA's highest authority - that started as 7pm (local time) and dragged on until 1.15am on Saturday, and that apparently included the minister of sport, Nathi Mthethwa. The members council has the power to dissolve the board, but declined to exercise that option - not least, probably, because several of the 14-strong members council also sit on CSA's board.

"We had very robust meeting," Nenzani said of Friday's affair. "It was very honest in terms of addressing the issues. But at the end of the day, or at the end of the night, or in the morning, the members council supported and endorsed the board to continue in its role and move forward in its efforts to turn the organisation around." A high-ranking provincial official saw things differently: "I am gutted. There is no appreciation by Chris Nenzani and his fellow board members that their credibility is shot and that their stakeholders will not engage with them."

One of those stakeholders, major sponsors Standard Bank, whose involvement in cricket started 21 years ago, said on Friday they would not renew their current agreement - which was worth USD 27.3-million over four years - when it expires at the end of April. That could be seen as an effort to put pressure on CSA to right their wrongs with a view to reestablishing the connection in future. But as things stand the national team are set to lose their title sponsor.

The relationship between CSA and broadcaster SuperSport has sunk to its lowest ebb because of disagreement over the latter's rights to the Mzansi Super League, and the value of the rights the board are able to command going forward is likely to fall thanks to the declining fortunes of South Africa's team.

The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) have estimated that by the end of the 2022 rights cycle CSA could face losses of USD 68.3-million, and have dragged CSA to court over a domestic restructure plan that could put 70 players out of work. Nenzani said repairing CSA's on-the-rocks marriage with SACA was on the agenda: "If the players weren't there, there wouldn't be a CSA. This is part of an engagement CSA will have with SACA as a matter of urgency."

There is so much more that is wrong with CSA. Last Sunday they revoked the accreditation of five senior journalists, and seven staff members are suspended currently while three of the five independent board members have resigned. So it would take a brave administrator to wade into the mess. Was Faul up for that challenge?

"You can't blame the public for not trusting us after what's happened, so you've got to act in an ethical way, plus you've also got to put out fires," he said. "You've got to solve the SACA issue, and it sounds like we are close to [appointing] the director of cricket. Ultimately, you've got to relate to attaining sponsors and attracting sponsors.

"That to me is the indicator - if you can appoint new sponsors that means corporate South Africa has again agreed to... give you a chance. It's easy to say to you that we are going to do the right thing, we've actually got to do the right thing. As the relationship becomes better with SACA and with sponsors, that's when credibility returns."

For the sake of the future of South African cricket, the present needs to be relegated to the past post haste: the first ball in the Test series against England is set to be bowled in Centurion on December 26.

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