“Cricket is full of good people doing good things for the benefit of many.”

The explosion of creativity in sport and the arts during Lockdown has been remarkable and uplifting to see, at least for the first couple of months when it was spontaneous and inspired by a desire to entertain and, in some cases, be seen.

It has become a little more forced these days and, in some cases, motivated by concern about the lack of income or even desperation. Whereas social media had a new photograph of a freshly baked sourdough loaf every two hours in the first month, they seem to have been replaced by new podcasts.

I wrote a Lockdown Diary on supersport.com for 96 consecutive days (for those who missed it), which only partly explains my absence from Manners-on-Cricket. Apparently there are only two ways to operate a Newsletter. On-the-dot regularity, or when you have something meaningful to say. With so many people doing so much reading, it didn’t feel right to drop something else into your inbox unless it was newsworthy. Or perhaps I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

Last week Cricket South Africa’s highest authority, the Members Council, was asked to vote on adopting a motion to retrospectively remove themselves and CSA Board members (half of them are one and the same thing) from any findings from the forensic audit and investigation into the finances and governance structures of the organisation and into the conduct of suspended CEO, Thabang Moroe. Here is the key paragraph circulated in an internal memo:

“The board is authorised to request and receive certain information/reports from the consultant, which information/reports the CSA board of directors requires to carry out certain actions in the organisation from time to time. Such requested information/reports shall specifically exclude any information/reports related to the investigation into the conduct of the board and the members’ council as envisaged in these terms of reference.”

This story was revealed in the Sunday Times by the excellent journalist, Khanyiso Tshwaku, who did the right thing and approached CSA president, Chris Nenzani, for comment. Tshwaku may or may not have received the answer he was expecting, but quoted Nenzani nonetheless:

“Where did you get that? Since you’ve got them, you need to ask the person who provided you with that document because it had nothing to do with you. It was sent to specific people for specific reasons. It had nothing to do with you,” Nenzani said.

“The person who gave you that document needs to explain it to you. You can’t be getting information from your moles and come to confirm it with me.

“We didn’t give you that document on purpose because we know why we’ve done so. It had nothing to do with the media, but everything to do with us. There’s no reason for me to respond to questions regarding the resolution when you didn’t get it from me.”

Today I, too, asked for clarification from CSA about the intention of the memo and the apparent proposal to airbrush the game’s most senior administrators out of a report the president assured all stakeholders would be far-ranging and freely available. I received the following statement ‘on behalf of the president and the board’:

“There has been no change to the terms of reference of the forensic audit. The Board has merely sought clarification from the Members Council on certain matters. The Board should be in a position to update all its stakeholders, including the media, in the second half of this week.”

The words “…specifically exclude…” were, apparently, ‘merely seeking clarification.’ Still, it’s good to know that nothing will have been redacted by the time we receive the report, 10 days after we were first promised it.

Cricket in South Africa, and around the world, has far, far more good people doing good things for the benefit of many than the few who are self-serving – it’s always good to remember that. The SA Cricketers Association, for example, has paid for more bursaries for players to start courses and study during Lockdown than ever before in its 20-year history.

SACA is run by the players for the benefit of the country’s professional players and they started a ‘Relief Fund’ at the start of Lockdown to help the players who have either missed out on lucrative European club contracts or necessary winter coaching jobs and who are now struggling to pay the bills. Literally. Not the usual image you have of professional cricketers but many have not been able to buy food or pay rent. That will be the subject of my next Newsletter. I’m back!

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