Proteas-England series saved (for now) as players decide against strike

CEO Thabang Moroe of CSA and CEO Tony Irish of SACA during the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) Joint media briefing at CSA Offices on July 31, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

But players union Saca joins the chorus baying for CSA chief Thabang Moroe and his board’s blood.

Local cricket fans who need a break from the shenanigans at Cricket South Africa can be rest assured: the Proteas will play England later this month.

The South African Cricketers Association (Saca) had earlier in the week threatened the embattled federation with a potentially historic first industrial action by players ever due to the ongoing sidelining of the union in terms of representation at administrative level.

However, following a meeting of its player executive committee on Friday, it was decided that the full-fledged tour, which commences on December 26 with a four-Test series, is too important to place into jeopardy.

“Saca reiterates that industrial action by the players should be viewed only as a very last resort,” Tony Irish, Saca’s outgoing chief, said.

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“We also wish to reassure cricket fans, and other cricket stakeholders, that Saca will not embark on industrial action with the players during the upcoming England series.  We are very aware of the importance of this series to the Proteas and to England, to the many fans from both countries and to the media and commercial partners.”

Unsurprisingly though, the organisation joined the growing chorus of parties demanding CSA chief Thabang Moroe and the board’s resignation, with the 14-province member’s forum being requested to appoint an interim decision-making and management structure.

“Extremely poor leadership, both at operational level and at board level, is what has got cricket into this disastrous position,” said Irish.

“It is abundantly clear that there is no confidence, from any quarter amongst cricket stakeholders, in the CSA board.  No one on the Board can say that he, or she, was unaware of what has been unfolding over at least the last year.  It has all been happening, in many respects even publicly, under the board’s very nose, and in some instances with board support.”

Saca also called for the immediate canning of CSA’s planned domestic restructure, which could endanger 70 jobs, as well as full independent inquiries into CSA’s finances and the individuals responsible for the governance meltdown.

Regarding succession planning, the union announced that Andrew Breetzke, Saca’s legal head, will take over from Irish, who joins England’s Professional Cricketers Association.

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