Members of the South African Cricketers Association (SACA), in the wake of the SASCOC instructing Cricket South Africa (CSA) to step aside, have written to the ICC to ban South Africa for alleged government interference. The ICC has, however, in response, quashed the association’s request.
In what has come as the latest - unexpected - twist in the South African cricket saga, members of the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) have sensationally written to the International Cricket Council (ICC), on behalf of the players, requesting the governing body to ban South Africa from international cricket owing to alleged government interference.
The belligerent move from SACA comes in the wake of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) instructing Cricket South Africa's board and senior executives, including acting CEO Kugandrie Govender, to step aside, citing grave mismanagement.
In an email to the ICC - which has now been accessed by SportsCafe - the SACA cited the intervention of SASCOC as a ‘blessing in disguise’ and also has urged the ICC to ban South Africa from international cricket to ‘put the players out of their misery’.
“On behalf of all South African cricketers, we, here at SACA, are humbly requesting you to ban South Africa from international cricket,” wrote the SACA to ICC.
“All players involved in the system were, quite honestly, looking for a way out and the ruling from the SASCOC has come as a blessing in disguise for our wounded warriors who have been left broken, beaten and scarred by the rotten management. The instability and corruption within Cricket South Africa - which has overseen four CEOs in the past three years, has had its President resign and has shamed all sponsors into walking away - which has dragged the country’s reputation through the mud has made the players sick to their stomach but that’s not all.
“The tenure - dictatorship - of Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher has been nothing but a combination of heavy favouritism and occasional tokenism. The duo’s primary tactic to ‘hire their mates’ has rankled those who have given their blood, sweat and tears for the country, because not only are they being provided ‘big names’ who are focused more about their own reputation and less about the players and the teams’ development, but they are also forced to deal with individuals who love to steal all credit when things go right, but don’t think twice before throwing players under the bus on the first instance of questions being hurled at them. Thus, putting a temporary ban on the national cricket team, like you did with our neighbours last year, will help the country to hit the reset button and start from scratch,” further read the letter.
Apart from writing to the ICC, the SACA also wrote to SASCOC, who had claimed earlier this week that their intervention is ‘not government interference’. In an equally aggressive letter - which SportsCafe, like how CSA are reluctant to disclose the forensic report, are not willing to put out - the SACA ‘threatened’ to expose SASCOC, who themselves are operating with an acting CEO and acting president as a result of delayed elections, in the scenario of the latter not retracting their statement with respect to government interference.
However, the SASCOC have not been intimidated by the demands of SACA. This is due to a sensational sting operation run by “South Africa Republic”, a Johannesburg-based news channel, which has exposed the real reason and motive behind the SACA vehemently rallying for the ICC to ban South Africa. As uncovered by the channel, a set of Whatsapp chats between South African cricketers - not including Kevin Pietersen - have revealed the players conspiring to overthrow the existing management and administration to ‘avoid embarrassment’.
The leaked Whatsapp chats are as follows: (Note: Player names have been concealed to protect their careers)
Player 1: Did you check the news, broskis?
Player 2: Yeh. Are we gonna get thrown out?
Player 3: I hope so. Lol.
Player 4: Y’all are nuts. How will we get paid?
Player 1: I mean, not like we are getting paid under this administration anyway lol I’m yet to get my dues for the last five series. Sooooo.
Player 3: Oh yeah? Are we also not gonna forget the fact how we have not yet been paid a single penny for the Mzansi Super League, which is a loss-making franchise league without a broadcast deal? Jesus.
Player 2: Yeh, but didn’t the PCB promise us that they will settle our dues if we tour Pakistan in 2021? I’m banking on that.
Player 4: Are we seriously gonna pretend that the PCB is superior to CSA now?
Player 3: Bruh, one board kept all its players safe; the other conducted a fancy, nonsensical ‘innovative’ tournament in the middle of a pandemic for mere virtue signalling. Tell me again, which one do you prefer?
Player 1: You damn right, fam. Sooooo what do we do now?
Player 3: Simple - rally behind the SACA and force both the ICC and SASCOC’s hand into banning South Africa from international cricket.
Player 2: That is a big risk, brother. Think about our careers; think about our reputation.
Player 3: What career? What reputation? Are y’all out of your minds? We’ve been the punching bags of international cricket for three years now, lads. Think about it: people hate us now, we are seen as minnows, we need a reboot and that can only be done if we get banned. Trust me, people will crave for us once we’re gone. Do you honestly think MS Dhoni would have been relevant had he kept on playing? He went AWOL for one year and now BOOM, people suddenly care about him. Why? Because they miss him. Big brain thinking, bois.
Player 1: Oh yeh. I could do a few months without getting battered left, right and centre by sides not named Australia.
Player 4: Be careful what you wish for, lads. Did you forget the pain our Zimbabwean bros had to endure last year when they were banned?
Player 3: Listen here. Our neighbors, they were thrown out of World Cup qualifiers. But us? With the WT20 now postponed, all we’ll miss is the World Test Championship, a tournament in which we’ve won JUST ONE GAME.
Player 4: A’ight, you’ve convinced me. So what do we do now?
Player 1: Throw shade on Smith, Boucher and Kallis using the SACA; throw shade on CSA.
Player 2: Amen to that.
Player 1: Hit the nail on the head, lad.
A combination of the sting operation run by the “South Africa Republic” network and the ICC’s own interests with CSA has seen the governing body stay mum on the controversy. However, when SportsCafe reached out to the ICC for a comment, a senior spokesperson said, “South Africa are no Nepal or Zimbabwe. They are, contrary to popular belief, important to us. At least as of the moment. So just like how we’ve turned a blind eye to the collusion and government interference ongoing in PCB, SLC and BCCI, we will for now, do the same with CSA. Perhaps we might reconsider our stance if and when they fail to qualify for the 50-over World Cup, which, if I’m not wrong, is not too far away.”