Thatscricket- Cricket News - 'My emphasis will be to develop club cricket'
Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Cape Town: The first black managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) wants to revive the game at grassroots level, as he considers the provincial and club levels to be the feeders for players of international caliber.Just two days into his new job after taking over from Dr Ali Bacher, GeraldMajola said South African cricket was going through a difficult time at the local level and to bring it around would be one of his first priorities.As a former Eastern Province player himself and having served on the UCBSA executive committee for the past three years, Majola is well placed to know the needs of and problems within South African cricket, especially among clubs catering to previously disadvantaged black communities."Club cricket is dying in most parts of the country. That's one of the most important aspects of our game. Our international players come from here. We need to look at ways and means to make it more attractive for the players," Majola told the South African newspaper 'Daily News' from Cape Town, where he is witnessing the second Test between South African and Sri Lankan. To achieve this, Majola said he would be talking to the major sponsors of South African cricket, who are due to announce their renewal of sponsorship for the next five years soon. "Everyone will be involved - the provinces, sponsors and those connected with the game in various ways," Majola said."All of them will be drawn into taking the game further and securing its future. The UCBSA and I cannot do this alone. We will bring in all the parties. It's important," he added.After the current Test, Majola will tour the Western Cape Province in an effort to establish local needs to improve the game. One of his major challenges is expected to be the continuation of the developmental programme initiated by his predecessor, which has produced some new talented black players like fast bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Mfuneko Ngam.South African sports journalists that IANS spoke to said it was early days yet to tell how Majola's style would differ from Dr Bacher's. But it is already clear that Majola will approach the management of the game in a more consultative and inclusive style as opposed to the way Dr Bacher handled affairs during his 14 years at the helm.It also seems that Majola would maintain a lower profile than the charismatic and flamboyant Dr Bacher, who earned international respect for his role in cricket and will now head South Africa's World Cup 2003 Committee preparations.Earlier, Dr Bacher had said that the huge profits he was confident of generating from the World Cup would make South African cricket financially viable and less reliant on sponsorships and gate takings than it is now. But Majola said while this would help, more efforts were needed to ensure long-term financial viability.India Abroad News Service