Kirsten-set Of HIS Role Of Cricket In Crisis Combines Disparate Characters > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Kirsten set for SA role as cricket crisis unites disparate figures

Gary Kirsten seems set to be brought in as a mentor to Enoch Nkwe

Gary Kirsten seems set to be brought in as a mentor to Enoch Nkwe

South African cricket could take another step backward to go forward by enlisting Gary Kirsten to put out some of the fires raging in the game. Kirsten, who won the 2011 men's World Cup as India's coach and took South Africa's men's team to the No. 1 Test ranking in 2012, seems set to be brought in as a mentor to Enoch Nkwe, who suffered a 3-0 thrashing in India in October in his first Test series as interim team director.

Nkwe looks likely to stay in the role for the rubber against England starting in Centurion on December 26, and it seems he will have Kirsten's help. A proposal compiled by some of the game's elders, and seen by Cricbuzz, calls, among other measures, for Kirsten to be appointed in a mentorship role. Some of the plan's authors and supporters are Norman Arendse, Ali Bacher - the former president and managing director of South Africa's board - the South African Cricketers' Association, Graeme Smith, and Kirsten.

The blueprint was discussed extensively on Friday (December 6) and finalised in time to be presented to the members council - Cricket South Africa's (CSA) highest authority, which comprises the presidents of the 14 provincial unions and affiliates - for tabling at their meeting that evening. Despite winning widespread support earlier in the day, when it came to the crunch it is believed only Western Province and Gauteng were in favour.

Maybe that happened because Arendse's original recommendations for the proposal demanded that "[CSA's] entire board and the chief executive [Thabang Moroe] must be suspended and an interim structure put in place". That was refined to "the members council to populate positions" with the proviso that "no board members who held positions in the past 12 months" could be involved. Currently the members council includes five provincial presidents who also sit on CSA's board. They would thus have been supporting their own removal. Friday's members council meeting stretched on for more than six hours, and ended with the board's survival.

Many questions swirl around the board's actions and inactions in the face of clear and present dangers to the game itself, and they have become targets for open hostility from the public and former players. Hugh Page, an isolation-era fast bowler and a former national selector, posted on social media: "I would have thought by now that with all that has gone on in cricket over the last week or so, any self-respecting individual sitting on the board of CSA would have said, 'Hang on, there's a major crisis here, I can't afford to be associated with this fiasco. I need to resign and move on quietly while still having some sort of dignity (and I say that lightly) intact'. By staying on, it clearly shows one's lack of regard for the game and that they are clearly there for their own personal gain. Simply put, they are not going anywhere without a shove. If it weren't for the sake of the game and respect to other playing cricket countries around the world, we as supporters should insist that the players go on strike immediately and refuse to play under this association of incompetent individuals that call themselves directors. I implore all those who sit on the board of CSA to resign now and move on quietly for the sake of cricket. Please!"

Moroe was indeed suspended as per the elders' plan, albeit earlier on Friday. And other provisions - the appointment of Smith as director of cricket, with Jacques Faul or Haroon Lorgat to take over as acting chief executive - either have or are in the process of being enacted. Faul was unveiled in that position on Saturday, and CSA president Chris Nenzani said he hoped to sign Smith by Wednesday.

So Kirsten coming on board would seem plausible, at least. "I'm always willing to help in whatever way possible but only if it's done through a proper and sustainable process and not just a as quick fix solution," Kirsten told Cricbuzz. Indeed the process of securing his services seems underway, as Faul indicated: "I hope to meet with Gary during next week or call him. The director of cricket will also be in contact with him. Hopefully we can involve him. He has a lot to offer."

Another point of the blueprint calls for Linda Zondi's immediate re-instatement as convenor of the selection panel, which was abolished after the World Cup and not replaced. The significance of that suggestion is that it is one of the few in the plan that proposes a black person's contribution as a solution to a problem. Smith, Faul and Kirsten are all white - a fact that will not have gone unnoticed in South Africa's wider society. Exponentially more blacks than whites play and follow cricket in South Africa, but the game continues to be considered a white preserve there and abroad. That's a lingering consequence of its cultural weaponisation during the country's racially regulated past. The wounds from that time remain unhealed, not least because levels of social and economic inequality between whites and blacks have grown alarmingly since the first democratically elected government took power in 1994.

So there was poignance in Arendse saying the proposal had been "broadly accepted by prominent cricket persons whom I would loosely describe as former hardline SACOS people, who swallowed hard but accepted that we face an unprecedented crisis in cricket in this country".

The South African Council on Sport, the non-racial authority in the apartheid era, was guided by the principle that there could be "no normal sport in an abnormal society". Decades on, not nearly enough has changed - neither in cricket nor in society. But, for the first time, and notwithstanding the fact that racial unity in cricket was proclaimed in 1991, figures as disparate as Arendse - a firebrand for non-racism - and Page - who played for what was called South Africa's team against an Australia rebel side in 1986-87 - stand together.

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