Cricket South Africa (CSA) has been in the news – A LOT – lately and all for the wrong reasons. It has been covered from all four thousand zig-zag corners of our country, as well as internationally.
Being dragged to court by the South Africa Cricketers Association (SACA) over the restructuring of the domestic scene as well as the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) due to CSA intervening and suspending the WPCA board due to ‘irregularities’ has seen the South African mother body being tarnished and whipped.
Added to that the failed attempt at South Africa’s Mzansi Super League. Last year’s edition was ‘ok’, considering how quickly things had to be put in place. But fans came, fans enjoyed and people thought “mmm, maybe this could work.”
But, MSL2.0, as it has been branded, is worse off a year later. Still no title sponsor, broadcasting rights being “given” away to the bankrupt national broadcaster, the SABC, who have a done a fair job to say the least.
But the failure of this event speaks volumes with the bums on seats just not being achieved. Perhaps it is down to the fans voicing their displeasure at the current shenanigans going on at CSA HQ!
The latest ‘Volcano’ to erupt came on Sunday when esteemed journalist, Stuart Hess, tweeted that he had his accreditation revoked – which later was “restored”. It emerged later in the day that other journalists were “given the boot”, namely Neil Manthorp, Firdose Moonda, Telford Vice and Ken Borland.
This piece is not to have a go at CSA – although I would love to later in the week – but more to show what type of people (to me anyway) the five journalists are, that CSA treated so callously.
Stuart Hess: I have never met “Hessy” in person but have engaged with the Arsenal-loving master on Twitter many times. Whenever I have needed info on a game at the Wanderers, or information around an injury or the like, Stuart has always obliged with freedom and given more than asked.
I would still like to meet the bugger and buy him a good scotch!
Neil Manthorp: Manners is known all over the world. His iconic voice on radio and TV have have given fans the pleasure of enjoying the game. Neil gave me the chance to write and for that I will forever be grateful.
Neil will call a spade, a spade but his attention to detail is something to aspire to. Neil has a way to ‘correct’ your writing and make you feel good about it. And that I love.
To someone he hardly knew, but entrusted his life-long knowledge of how to write, imparting how things should be done, over lunch in his office, was always a treat. Making sure that as a “newbie”, I did not get stuck in the gutter of silly online, social media-style writing.
Ken Borland: Diminutive in stature but huge in heart. Ken will make anyone feel comfortable and that he did with me. In 2013, attending the kick-off party given by Sunfoil for the looming Test series against India, Ken made me feel right at home.
I was so out of my depth with all the cricketing brains around me that all I did was sit and listen. “How the hell do these guys remember games and stats like that?”, I thought to myself. I mean, I had been doing this for less than a year.
But I remember what Ken said to me, and it stuck with me and guided me since then. “You know more than you let on, but you don’t sit around bragging about it and that shows good character. You’ll do well.”
Telford Vice & Firdose Moonda: These are two salmon that love to swim upstream. A great couple and never far from making the new guy feel comfortable. I had read many of Telford’s pieces in the paper and always enjoyed the candid way in which things were put across.
He and Firdose were never afraid to ask the real questions and were never put off to write a story. But from old (not in age Firdose!) hacks these two always made my days in the Newlands press box during the New Year’s test enjoyable.
The pleasant greetings and the cupcakes from Firdose made every day enjoyable.
It is people like Stuart, Neil, Ken, Telford and Firdose that make cricket interesting, even to the fans who are not that interested in the sport. They are real, they are sincere and what CSA did to these intrepid icons of the written word is absolutely disgusting.
I am nowhere near a mainstream journalist – I cannot even use the word journalist, but my enjoyment of writing is always secretly accredited to these five people in some way – in the dark corners of my sometimes sadistic mind.
There are no five better people you will find in any media environment and Cricket South Africa have really gone over the edge this time.