Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has been appointed Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket – a role he had initially turned down. The appointment, though, is only for three months.
Four days after initial reports of him being in talks with CSA for the role of director of cricket, Smith had declared on Twitter that he was no longer interested in the role due to “lack of freedom” the governing body were willing to afford him. However, the parties seem to have reached an agreement on Wednesday, December 11.
Smith’s appointment has come at a critical time for CSA with the body under fire from various quarters on issues ranging from incompetence, including the failure to install a selection panel for the men’s team only weeks before an important four-Test series against England, to alleged misconduct of the CEO Thabang Moroe, who has been since suspended from role. Not too long ago, the South African Cricketers’ Association had called for the entire board to resign.
Cricket South Africa has been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent weeks, but ahead of the England Tests Faf du Plessis wants "focus back on to the team".https://t.co/Zm1bihoclB
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 9, 2019
While it remains to be seen how well Smith’s incredible captaincy skills can translate into leadership prowess at the administrative level, the fact that he has been appointed for only three months at this point will put a limitation on the impact he is able to have. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Smith couldn’t be appointed for a longer duration owing to his commentary commitments during the IPL 2020.
Smith, though, remains positive about his new assignment. “I’ve publicly stated a number of times that I would love to assist CSA in this difficult time, particularly in developing this new role of director of cricket. I’m still as passionate about South African cricket as I ever was, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role. There is a lot of work to be done in the next few weeks and months and my objective will always be to make a positive impact during my tenure.”
Acting CEO Jacques Faul is the one who sealed the appointment with Smith and he expressed optimism about the impact the former captain can have. “I am delighted that Graeme has agreed to assist Cricket South Africa up until the IPL next year. Obviously, Graeme has had his concerns during the course of the last few months, but I am pleased to say that we have overcome those concerns and I look forward to working with him to urgently address pressing cricketing matters in particular.
“Graeme is … a natural leader and his knowledge of the game is second to none. To have him on board to work with the professional cricket arm of CSA, as well as the cricketing pipeline, which is so vital for our game, is a massive shot in the arm for CSA during this period.”