There was good news and bad news for beleaguered cricket fans on Monday morning regarding Graeme Smith.
Bad news first: the legendary Proteas skipper hasn’t been appointed Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) director of cricket.
However, the good news is that he’s engaged in “ongoing discussions” with the embattled federation regarding the role, though some concerns still remain.
Smith was responding to a weekend report stating that his recruitment would be confirmed imminently, advising on social media that “contrary to media reports I have not been appointed director of cricket”.
Last month, the 38-year-old, who remains Test cricket’s most successful captain ever, withdrew from the race, citing concerns over a potential lack of independence in his position as well as apparently becoming frustrated with CSA dragging its heels on the overall appointment process.
The governing body then mulled re-advertising the post after three other candidates – suspended interim incumbent, Corrie van Zyl, Hussein Manack and Dave Nosworthy – didn’t quite cut the mustard, ostensibly to potentially identify overseas candidates.
Yet a spate of scandals at CSA, varying from an embarrassing loss in an arbitration case against the Western Province Cricket Association to the temporary gagging of five cricket writers, including The Citizen’s Ken Borland, has apparently prompted the suits to engage with Smith again.
Various observers have opined that his appointment would provide a much-needed injection of confidence in the federation.
But Smith won’t be swayed easily and he once again made it clear that he requires reassurances.
“As previously advised I withdrew my application for the role. I am, however, in ongoing discussions with CSA, but I still have real concerns, which I have reiterated to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, CSA also took to social media to quell a severe backlash on the banning of journalists from stadium events.
“We take the opportunity to unreservedly express our intention to fully address the current situation in the media. To this end, we commit to meet with the editors of the respective newspapers to address the current impasse,” the federation said in a statement.
It still though believes it’s been subjected to “unmediated attacks”.
“The Executive of Cricket South Africa fully acknowledges the recent events in the media space and despite months of experiencing unmediated attacks, including of a personal nature, we acknowledge the severity of the current mood towards our brand.
“As the custodians of cricket in SA, we are grateful for the unwavering support of our many stakeholders, and in particular the partners and sponsors and their clientele, who collectively sustain this great sport.”
Various Twitter users have called for a sponsorship boycott over the past two days.