Until JP Duminy gritted his way to a match-winning, unbeaten 64 in Wednesday’s second T20 against India in Centurion, it was pretty depressing thinking about the Proteas’ senior players.
Firstly, none of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla or Quinton de Kock have been present while Duminy and the woefully out-of-form David Miller didn’t contribute their pound of flesh.
Tasked with being the stand-in skipper for the T20 series, Duminy admitted that the experienced men in the setup were experiencing a “dismal” time.
It’s perfectly valid to criticise them for not taking responsibility in a period where they’ve needed to stand up against a classy Indian side.
These men are professional after all.
But I can’t help but think that the shenanigans at Cricket South Africa (CSA) board level are playing a subtle, background role in what, in general, has seemed like low morale in the Proteas side.
Usually, our cricketers have been pretty good down the years in brushing off governance troubles and still getting their business done on the field.
However, for the first time in more than a decade, that might not be the case.
And it pertains to one thing: the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CSA and the South African Cricketers Association (Saca).
This is the multi-year agreement stipulates the commercial relationship between the players and the governing body.
In other words, it’s the piece of paper that keeps our cricket stars from ditching the Proteas and going freelance and earning mountains of money in overseas T20 leagues and English county cricket.
The current MOU expires at the end of April.
Enough time for a new agreement still to be reached? Sure.
Yet there’s no indication of progress at the moment and rumours abound that CSA – still reeling from the T20 Global League fiasco – are operationally paralysed.
It’s also not very comforting that Thabang Moroe, acting CSA chief, is taking a hard stance on the MOU.
In a press briefing in December, he said: “Ultimately the people that make money for cricket is CSA‚ it’s not a union.”
Seriously? If television rights are your main source of income, then it’s actually De Villiers and Kagiso Rabada that give broadcasters the appetite to screen CSA’s product.
You have to ask your question: wouldn’t you as a seasoned professional player also be rather annoyed by such a stance?