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    England told tour of South Africa WILL go ahead despite chaos behind the scenes for the hosts

    England squad told tour of South Africa WILL go ahead as planned despite concerns hosts’ Interim Board could be placed into administration

    • Graeme Smith has assured Ashley Giles that there will be no schedule changes
    • Cricket South Africa’s Members Council board resigned en masse last month 
    • A probe into the economic strife of the game in South Africa has been blocked 

    England’s tour to South Africa will go ahead. That much became clear on another day of acrimonious bickering among the country’s administrators.

    The only common ground was that Eoin Morgan’s men should board their chartered plane on Monday and that they would be welcomed by an operations team that has everything in place for the three T20 Internationals and three ODIs which are scheduled to start at Newlands on November 27.

    Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket, former captain Graeme Smith, has assured his opposite number, Ashley Giles, that it will be ‘business as usual’ as far as playing the game is concerned and that England’s players will remain unaffected by the turmoil which could soon see the SA government’s Sports Minister place the organisation into administration.

    Eoin Morgan’s England team will board their plane to South Africa with the Proteas in disarray

    The Minister himself, Nathie Mthethwa, is furious that the CSA Members Council, the highest authority in the game comprising the presidents of all the provincial affiliates, refused to sanction the appointment of an Interim Board of mostly independent directors following the forced resignations, en masse, of the discredited previous board.

    Mthethwa and Members Council agreed to the appointment of the Interim Board, chaired by the highly respected retired Constitutional Court judge, Zaq Yacoob, two weeks ago. 

    But it was an agreement ‘in principle’ and the Members Council reneged on it once they saw how rigorous and thorough the Interim Board were in investigating the financial and administrative rot which has brought the game into disrepute over the last two years.

    ‘It could be said that we should have bided our time, treated them nicely, pretended that we were going to be good to them. 

    ‘Then they might have confirmed us. Maybe that was a mistake on our part,’ Yacoob said, with some irony, on Friday.

    There are three battleground points of contention, apart from the fact that the Members Council suits regards Yacoob as ‘a bully’. 

    Graeme Smith has told opposite number Ashley Giles that the tour will go ahead as planned

    Graeme Smith has told opposite number Ashley Giles that the tour will go ahead as planned

    The second is that former ICC and CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, is one of the nine members of the Interim Board. He had a fractious relationship with many of the Members Council by the time his term in office ended in 2017.

    The third is that Mthethwa, in announcing the Interim Board, said that it would ‘report to’ the Members Council instead of ‘provide reports to… .’

    Former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has found himself at the centre of the furore

    Former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has found himself at the centre of the furore

    ‘I am quite certain that the minister was saying we should report to them in the sense that we keep them advised of what we are doing, and we try to get everyone together and work together as much as possible,’ Yacoob said.   

    ‘We try and consult with them as much as possible, and we make sure we take them into account in the work that we do. 

    ‘They have interpreted that to mean, wrongly, that we are accountable to them and we must do what they tell us to do. Or what they authorise us to do. And we were not prepared to accept that.’

    Quinton de Kock's team have been shielded from the politics as they prepare to face England

    Quinton de Kock’s team have been shielded from the politics as they prepare to face England

    South Africa’s white ball captain Quinton de Kock and his players are fully aware of the developments but, like the England players, will be shielded from the boardroom back-stabbing as much as possible. The SA Players Association, SACA, is in no doubt of the seriousness of the situation.

    ‘It would appear as if the Members Council do not realise the extent of the damage being done to cricket, and sadly we are reaching a point where that damage may be irreparable,’ said SACA chief executive Andrew Breetzke.

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