Graeme Smith, the former national cricket captain and current director of cricket at Cricket South Africa (CSA), has put his employer in a bind by naming his preferred candidate to become the chairperson of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Earlier this week, Smith said in a video conference that he supported Sourav Ganguly, a former captain of the Indian national side, to succeed Shashank Manohar as chair of cricket’s global governing body. Ganguly is currently the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India and is widely acknowledged as one of his country’s best captains. He also played over 100 Tests and 300 one-day internationals for the national side.
Subsequently, CSA president Chris Nenzani said the organization did not yet have a favoured candidate as ICC chair. According to Sport24, Nenzani said: ‘We must respect both the ICC protocol and our own protocol in deciding which candidate to back. There have been no candidates nominated as yet and once such nominations have been made the board of CSA will take its decision in terms of its own protocol and give the chairman the mandate to exercise his vote as an ICC board director accordingly.’
Nenzani has been widely criticised for his running of the game in South Africa. Under his leadership, corporate governance standards at CSA fell, and the Proteas suffered a string of poor results.
There is global concern about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the sport, with many cricketing countries set to suffer a severe financial blow due to the effective halt in sport (amateur and professional). Depending on the duration of the pandemic, and pending government approval, South Africa and India are set to play three T20 internationals in South Africa in August. This would be a major boost to CSA’s coffers (series involving India are widely sought after by sports broadcasters because of the huge fan base in that country), but it remains to be seen if it will go ahead.