“I wouldn’t read too much into this, people love T20 cricket, it’s (about) new faces and new teams. It will be well supported.”
Mark Boucher stressed yesterday that the Mzansi Super League won’t be a cure for the plethora of problems facing South African cricket.
“There’s bigger issues that need to be dealt with,” said Boucher, who is the head coach of the Tshwane Spartans in the MSL.
South African cricket has been beset by controversy in recent weeks, following the suspension of three senior administrative officials, which came on the back of a poor tour to India by the Proteas men’s team.
Mountain of debt
In addition, Cricket SA is dealing with a mountain of debt and has also isolated the country’s players, who through their union, the SA Cricketers Association, have taken CSA to court over proposed changes to the domestic playing structure.
“A lot of people may look at this (the MSL) and say we are sugar-coating the whole situation that Cricket SA finds itself in at the moment,”said Boucher.
“I wouldn’t read too much into this, people love T20 cricket, it’s (about) new faces and new teams. It will be well supported.
“But we have to be very careful about putting too much emphasis on this because I think there are bigger problems that need to be sorted out and hopefully sorted out soon, for the good of cricket in our country and worldwide.”
CSA will be hoping the MSL, which will feature some big names including Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel, Moeen Ali, Alex Hales and Jason Roy, might take some of the attention off of all its problems.
That’s unlikely, however, and once the tournament ends in December, the focus will very much be on South African cricket when England starts its tour.
CSA needs to appoint a chairman of selectors and most importantly a Director of Cricket, whose job it will be to map a path for the future of the game in the country.
“There’s guys talking about the state of South African cricket at the moment and (how) it’s not good for world cricket.
“It’s actually quite sad to see the kind of media there is and what is being said on Twitter and Instagram; everything you look at now is pretty negative,” Boucher said.
“We’ve got ourselves into a pretty bad state and hopefully there are some clever heads in there to try and turn it around, it certainly needs to happen.”
The MSL kicks off at the Wanderers on Friday night with the defending champions, the Jozi Stars facing the Cape Town Blitz.
The Spartans open their campaign at Kingsmead the next day against the Durban Heat.
Boucher is optimistic that his side, carefully drafted to give it a strong home-town flavour, will produce a much improved effort than last season when the Spartans finished out of contention for a play-off berth.
Besides De Villiers and Morkel, who started their careers at the Spartans’ SuperSport Park home, the likes of Roelof van der Merwe, Dean Elgar, Tony de Zorzi, Lungi Ngidi and the Spartans’ captain this season, Heinrich Klaasen, are all very familiar with every nook and cranny in Centurion.
“It was deliberate to draft (the team) like that. We wanted guys who know these conditions well at home, and guys who are good team players. We have a very competitive side this time around,” said Boucher.
“It’s almost impossible to start a culture, but there’s already one that has started in that dressing room, just how they mingle with each other. It’s almost like a group of mates meeting up with one another and as a coach that’s easy to manage.”