Ali Bacher, the former South African Test captain and managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (now CSA), has called on CSA's current administration to take responsibility for recent events which has seen the game teetering on the brink of crisis.
Bacher called on the board to be held accountable and CEO Thabang Moroe to consider stepping down after initially mediating talks between Moroe and former captain Graeme Smith, which could have led to Smith taking on the director of cricket role on October 1.
Smith and Moroe met at Bacher's Johannesburg home on August 28, where Smith's deal was all but finalised, but 11 weeks later Smith withdrew interest in the role citing lack of confidence in the administration. Now, with CSA putting out fires with the players' association, sponsors, the media and facing collapse in their own board, Bacher has decided to speak out.
"I have been involved in cricket administration at varying levels from 1981 to 2003. In 2003, after the Cricket World Cup, I decided to call it a day. It was my call. I decided I would not interfere in the future running of South African cricket and I kept my word. However recent developments have made it obligatory for me to go public and express my most serious concern about the current administration in South African cricket," Bacher told ESPNcricinfo.
While Bacher was not involved in the Gerald Majola or Haroon Lorgat era, he has been sought after for counsel under Moroe's administration in recent months. Bacher oversaw the meeting between Smith and Moroe, and was thrilled with Smith's interest. "Graeme is a legend not only in South Africa but around the world and I was excited to see him consider going into administration in South Africa full-time," Bacher said.
"Faf du Plessis was not consulted over the appointment of the coach or three assistants for the tour to India. South Africa got a 3-nil drubbing. Are you surprised?" Ali Bacher
Bacher was optimistic Smith would be able to start rebuilding of the national side that had just been whitewashed in a Test series in India, under a revamped management. The tour was the first since CSA announced a structure that did away with a head coach and installed a team director in his place. The job was given to Enoch Nkwe, who had a successful run with the Lions and Jozi Stars in the 2018-19 summer, winning three of the four trophies available in his first season as a franchise coach. Vincent Barnes travelled as the bowling coach and Amol Muzumdar from India was hired on a short-term deal as a batting consultant.
Though CSA put the poor results down to a transition period following the retirements of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, there were deeper problems than personnel. "It is a well-known fact that the current highly respected captain of South Africa, Faf du Plessis, was not consulted over the appointment of the coach or three assistants for the tour to India. South Africa got a 3-nil drubbing. Are you surprised?" Bacher asked.
Few were, including Smith, who used much of his on-air commentary time to explain where South Africa were tactically erring. While CSA continues to attempt to draw Smith into the tent - and discussions between him and president Chris Nenzani are ongoing - Smith has admitted to having "real concerns," with the way cricket is being run. Smith did not go into detail but an obvious issue is lack of communication. More than two months after Smith and Moroe met at Bacher's home Smith "had still not received a contract for consideration", Bacher said.
Similarly, now, with little more than three weeks to go before South Africa host England for four Tests, three ODIs and three T20s, the director of cricket appointment has been delayed, there is no selection panel in place and no coaching staff have been confirmed. CSA's board will hold a special sitting on Saturday in an attempt to resolve these issues but Bacher believes it is too late for them to seek redemption: "The current CEO is out of his depth and I strongly suggest that he resigns imminently in the best interests of South Africa cricket."