Hall of shame

Andrew Hall has lost his job at the Easterns Titans. A nationally contracted player without a franchise with whom to ply his trade. What really happened?

Is Andrew Hall being greedy? Or is someone else manipulating the situation for personal reward, either financial or emotional? You decide.

When Andrew Hall was an Easterns player he, like other nationally contracted players, were paid by the union over and above the salaries they received from the United Cricket Board. Those payments were against UCB policy and were made in creative ways to disguise them. The players will no doubt be horrified to read such an accusation and may even threaten to sue me but, frankly, they were so poorly disguised that even a journalist could see them from the other side of the country. So sue me.

Anyway, so what. If they were actually ‘illegal’ then I have no doubt the good people at SARS would have knocked on their doors a long time ago. And it wasn’t as if Easterns were pioneers in the field. Free State and their sponsors went out of their way to make sure Allan Donald and Hansie Cronje were comfortable during the province’s golden years in the mid 90s, no matter what they were being paid by the UCB.

So, when Easterns and Northerns merged to form the Eastern Titans franchise, there were a couple of players wondering what the perks might be. All of them from Benoni.

These days the UCB still says nationally contracted players can’t be paid by their provinces but has added a recent concession – they are allowed to be reimbursed the expenses they incur whilst playing provincial cricket. Now we all know what that means, right? The old ‘expense allowance’ story? Yeh, right. Funny how the best players always incur the most expenses.

But no, not this time. The Titans franchise put a lid on that scam by deciding that all of their nationally contracted players – Neil McKenzie, Jacques Rudolph, Andre Nel, Albie Morkel, Martin van Jaarsveld and Andrew Hall – would have an annual ceiling of R60,000 for their provincial expense claim. That’s R5000 per month which buys a lot of petrol, even these days.

Five of those players decided (a long time ago) that the deal was pretty good. A couple thought it was very good indeed with the R15,000 or so they receive from the UCB and the extra income they all acquire from sponsors and endorsements. But one didn’t think it was good enough.

Andrew Hall’s agent is his former coach at Easterns, Ray Jennings, who was turned down in favour of Dave Nosworthy for the role of head coach at the new franchise. Jennings was offered the role of Director of Coaching instead, on the same salary and package that he enjoyed at Easterns. But he turned it down. So instead of being involved with his players and working for the good of South African cricket, he finds himself on the outside jeopardising the career of a player he did so much to build up.

I hear from an extremely reliable source at Gauteng that Hall’s request for “extras” was too high for them, too, so they declined the invitation to employ him. But the Free State Eagles and the KzN Dolphins are now said to be interested.

So Hall, guided by Jennings, could face the prospect of moving his family to Durban or Bloemfontein just to get a game of cricket to keep his international career alive. And he still might not get all perks he feels he’s entitled to. It’s not pretty is it, gentlemen? And my reason for writing it all down on this page? To encourage you, perhaps, to have a rethink about your priorities.


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