Support and honesty vital to recovery

Have a laugh. Go on, at least a smile. Why not try a joke or two? Don’t laugh at the South African players, for goodness sake, because they don’t deserve that, but have a laugh at the result and state of South African cricket because otherwise, you might never watch the game again.

Then, when a laugh has been had and the dust has settled on the most embarrassing match in South Africa’s history (when they were bowled out for 36 and 45 in the fifth Test against Australia at the MCG in 1931-32 they were known to be the whipping boys of world cricket) it will be time for some honesty.

Mark Boucher was brave during interviews after the match insisting that it was no disgrace losing to the best team in the world. He tried to promise the team would be competitive in the next two Tests but it was difficult to believe him when he was struggling to believe himself.

As large as the problems are on the field, the environment surrounding the team has never been less secure. Administrators at provincial level need to ask themselves very seriously whether they are pursuing their own agendas to the detriment of the national side.

Eastern Province, for example, insisted on playing Nantie Hayward when the national side had requested at least six weeks off to rest his ankle. He has now torn ligaments and is out of action for six weeks. With Allan Donald’s Test career now over, the need for Hayward has never been greater.

More clarity is still desperately needed on the development goals of the UCB. If the target is to play two, three or even four black players at national level then that needs to be explained. Not a single member of the national squad would object to quotas, they just need to be sure.

South African cricket has plunged from high esteem to laughing stock status in the space of three months and the time is now right for people who truly care about the game and it’s future to make themselves known.

Honest appraisal of the motives driving administrators and selectors must be done now, and it can only be done by the men themselves.

Wouldn’t it be a pleasant change if people pointed fingers at themselves for a change, not other people? That’s what the national team needs right now. Support, not criticism.

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