|Gerald Majola- CEO, Cricket South Africa|
|Profile of the week|
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 11:20
You have been at the helm of Cricket South Africa for over a decade, and you are the longest serving CEO of any of the ICC full member countries, what has been the highlight of your tenure?
There have been plenty of highlights of my tenure. It’s very hard to pick one. I always get excited when the team does well--that’s why I’m here, to administer and make sure that the sport progresses and moves on. Also, when the competitions are running smoothly I get satisfaction from my job. So I can’t [really] give you highlights, [but], I think CSA has hosted, more than any other country, all the major events during my tenure.
I can probably boast and say I am the only CEO in world cricket who has hosted almost all the major events in world cricket be it a World Cup t20 [the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007], be it a world cup champions league [Champions League Twenty20 2010], be it a proper world cup [2003 World Cup]. And, most of them have been successful. I think we probably can boast as the best host in cricket. We hosted IPL, of course, in record time [in 2009]. It was laid on our table three weeks before the start of the event and I still believe it was the best hosted IPL of the three that’ve been played so far.
I’ve [also] been involved with putting together CSA’s vision and strategies for the last decade. For me, the key is to see the abundance of talent coming through. I believe I can say, without fear of any contradictions, that we probably [have] produced the highest quality of cricket players than any other country at the moment and that’s [indebted to] the programmes we’ve put down at CSA. This year we’ve probably introduced 4 to 5 players, all of them already knocking the top rankings of ICC. That’s really my highlight – [my highlight] is to see fruits of that architecture coming through.
If there’s one good decision I can put down as stand out, [it] was to revamp our competitions from eleven to six because the quality of cricketers coming out of the present competition is proven. That was a very good decision, but, also, what we have seen is that the numbers do not really [suffice for the demand]. We can do with more than six. What we don’t know is how many more would be viable. So the exercise is not to go back; we have to seriously look at how many quality cricketers we can get and how many teams we can afford. [We need] to continue with what we have but not lose quality players out of the system. If we only stick with six, we cannot accommodate all players because of the abundance of players coming through the system. The objectives are two – one is each of those entities must be financially viable and, secondly, the quality of cricket must not be compromised.
How do you balance the advancement of the professional game and the promotion of the sport in education and at a grassroots level?
Our vision at CSA is to be a truly national sport of winners. That means cricket must be accessible to all, first and foremost, and, then, the second part of that vision is that cricket must be a winning sport – excellence must be key to what we do. So, much as we want to be accessible to all, we do not want to lose quality and, hence, all our programmes our built towards ensuring that whatever programmes we have produce quality players. That is why now we are sitting with an abundance of quality players that are coming through our pipeline from grassroots level.
We have also started something in the heart of the rural area out in Alice. We have a rural academy where we concentrate purely on black African players; we give them bursaries and, they will also be part of cricket. This is our third year in that exercise. Out of that exercise, now, we have produced eight graduates from the varsity and also we have produced four professional cricketers. So, it takes care of both the cricketing side of things and also the education; not all of the people going into academies will eventually be professional cricketers but, if they’re not, at least they have a career and they might be cricket administrators in future as well.
No doubt. Transformation is key to whatever we do. For us to be sustainable, we have to ensure, as I said, that our vision is accessible to all. It means that we have to ensure that the majority of people in the country have access to the game. And, therefore, transformation is key to our sustainability to make sure that cricket is followed by all and enjoyed by all.