Donald Bradman’s mop and bucket

In the Bradman Museum at the Bowral Oval just outside Sydney there is a small room on the first floor with a sign which says “Strictly no entry.” It’s only a small room and, anyway, if it’s so important that no one goes in there why don’t they just close the door?

And what about the “strictly” business? Is there a difference between “no entry” and “strictly no entry”? Does the first one mean “Please don’t come in unless you’re REALLY curious?”

Needless to say, at least a quarter of the people who pass through the museum pop their heads in. It was a bit dark the day I did so all I could see was an old pair of the Don’s cleaning overalls and his old bucket and mop. No wonder they didn’t want it displayed. But the point is, if they hadn’t put any signs up nobody would have even noticed.

So when the UCB (sorry, Cricket South Africa PTY Ltd.) release a statement saying they are parting ways with their financial director after a decade in the job “by mutual consent” you immediately wonder why.

Then, when the statement says: “The terms of the cancellation of the agreement are confidential, as agreed by both parties,” you really wonder why. All it’s missing is the word “strictly” confidential.

Smith was appointed in 1993 by Ali Bacher when the autocratic UCB chief was at the height of his power. When Bacher left to take up his post as chief of the World Cup organising committee, he took Smith him. There have worked together throughout the last decade and there is little doubt they are a talented team.

It’s probably extremely unfortunate for Smith that his parting should come the day after it was revealed that he had been paid – or should that be paid himself? – a bonus of a million rand for running the World Cup’s financial affairs. And that Bacher had received five million. Smith said they had intended to reveal these payments but, because a meeting had been postponed, hadn’t done so yet.

As far as the Cricket South Africa is concerned, there have been problems. When Graham Ford and Craig Smith were sacked their contracts had to be paid out in full. When Hylton Ackerman was sacked as coach of the national academy, he, too, rightly took the UCB to court. This all cost the UCB a lot of money – and Smith was ultimately responsible.

There’s a lot of questions. A lot. And the feeble response by Cricket SA and Smith is to hang a “strictly no entry” sign across them. Well, they should all know what response such action provokes more often than not. Actually, I suspect that a few people knew exactly what they were doing.

The answer may only be a bucket and mop. Let’s hope so, because the answers will be found

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