Although Manack does not regret going on the tours like many had advised him not to, it did set in motion the philosophy he lives by today
Hussein Manack was part of South Africa’s groundbreaking maiden tour to India in 1991 and the World Cup in Australia the following year.
Manack, though, did not play a single game. In fact, he was not even considered for selection as he was taken along as a non-playing, development member of the squad. Fellow former South African Cricket Board all-rounder Faiek Davids, Hansie Cronjé and Derek Crookes were the other non-playing squad members.
But unlike Cronjé and Crookes, neither Manack nor Davids went on to play international cricket. The exercise was window-dressing at its height.
Although Manack does not regret going on the tours like many had advised him not to, it did set in motion the philosophy he lives by today.
“I would like to see people of my generation who still can’t bring themselves to support South Africa to start doing so because it is our country, and unless we take ownership of our national sides we will not be able to have a say or make a difference,” Manack said.
It certainly is a poignant statement. Since those early days, Manack has been committed to making a difference in SA cricket at almost every level of the game.
He has served as a Gauteng Cricket Board member, been convenor of selectors at the Highveld Lions between 2011 and 2014, and more prominently was a Proteas selector between 2012 and 2019.
Manack is also a CSA Level 3 accredited coach.
Which brings us to the present. The 51-year-old is one of the leading candidates for the soon-to-be- announced Director of Cricket position at Cricket SA.
While public clamour has been for the beleaguered body to appoint a high-profile former player, there is merit to appointing someone with Manack’s experience.
He knows CSA’s structures intimately, from youth level all the way up to the national side. He has worked with the respective coaches, and has built up relationships with them, particularly SA Under-19 mentor Lawrence Mahatlane.
Dialogue between the Director of Cricket and SA Under-19 team is crucial to the long-term success of the Proteas.
Equally, Manack and current interim Proteas coach Enoch Nkwe also sing from the same hymn sheet with the former having been part of the process of Nkwe getting his franchise post at the Lions.
For the Director of Cricket – regardless of whether it is Manack or not – to be successful the lines of communication need to be open from the very top right through to the bottom and everyone needs to be on the same page.
That does not mean CSA need to employ a ‘Yes Man’ because Manack is the furthest thing from it. He possesses strong beliefs and equally strong principles and is a firm believer in transformation and particularly non-racialism in order to provide everyone equal opportunities.
SA cricket needs some direction. Manack may just be the man to provide it.