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Numbers man Haroon Lorgat needs to crack cricket world’s power equation

CSA's decision to take a stand and appoint Lorgat has put them firmly in a corner.


September 5, 2013 2:31:00 am

In August 2011,as Lord Woolf was beginning his review into what reforms can be made with regard to the administration of the International Cricket Council,Haroon Lorgat was asked by a journalist in Harare what the game’s apex body and cricket could expect to gain from the exercise. Also Read: Now playing Lorgat vs Srini,India vs SA can wait

His response was that he had no idea what would come out of it.

This was fairly typical of Lorgat during his time at the head of the ICC,when he could be infuriatingly unctuous. It was generally impossible to get anything out of him — particularly when it came to the big issues — as he glided away from the heart of the matter into a safe,non-committal answer.

But in some ways it was also a fair response. Lorgat had issued an open-ended brief to Woolf in a bid to answer those critics who believed the ICC was dysfunctional. It was designed in such a way that the outcomes should have been based upon facts,rather than the ideals of individuals who worked within it. Also Read: Lorgat ready to mend bridges with BCCI

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On paper it was a noble pursuit,which Lorgat undertook in the most unobtrusive manner possible.

It is this quiet diplomacy which defines Lorgat’s style — at least in public — and which appears to be both his greatest strength and his biggest weakness.

He does not make grand statements or even show where his sentiment lies — rather,his roots as a chartered accountant have taught him to set a project in motion and then let the facts determine the outcome. It’s an approach which Lorgat applied to two other issues of contention which have alienated the BCCI: the decision to relocate the India-England World Cup encounter,and the implementation of the Decision Review System.

In theory there may not be anything obliquely problematic in Lorgat’s facts-based formula,but in practice it fails to acknowledge the balance of power and the potential to upset powerful people who prefer to keep certain facts hidden.

The BCCI have not wasted any opportunities to convey this message. At the start of the Champions League Twenty20 meeting in July,just days after Lorgat was appointed as CSA’s new chief executive,the CSA delegation were asked to leave the room. In their absence,the BCCI proposed to cut the South Africans out of the current partnership — a move which Cricket Australia were apparently amenable to.

CSA had been warned by the BCCI about what they could be in for if they appointed Lorgat,and now they look set to lose millions of dollars from India’s tour being shortened.

Yet they can hardly be blamed for employing Lorgat given the circumstances – not only was he was the standout candidate for the job (initially he was the only man on the shortlist),but the organisation was looking for a principled head who would send the right message about their attempts to move on from a messy saga with former CEO Gerald Majola.

There have been many staffing changes in the corridors of CSA since the Majola issue began — many of them for the better — and it is understood that the standoff with the BCCI has led more to bafflement at the Indian board’s actions than with their new boss. Despite the public’s disappointment with the tour being reduced,South African cricket fans are a headstrong bunch who are not about to chastise their own board for not pandering to the BCCI’s desires.

Nevertheless CSA’s decision to take a stand and appoint Lorgat has put them firmly in a corner,and they must decide whether to come out fighting,or apologising. Either will require Lorgat to break his trend of avoiding strong statements. He will have the backing of those around him and the South African public,but must battle against his inner accountant and speak with greater sincerity.

Tristan Holme

— the writer is a cricket correspondent based in Cape Town

Nice if Lorgat apologises: Dalmiya

Kolkata: BCCI interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya on Wednesday said it would be nice if Cricket South Africa’s new CEO Haroon Lorgat apologises to the Indian Board to iron out differences. The BCCI,which had clashed with Lorgat on a number of issues,including the implementation of the DRS,during the latter’s tenure as ICC Chief Executive,is not keen on a full South Africa tour by its team after Lorgat took over the reins in CSA.

“Lorgat is a nice gentleman but it would be nice of him if he apologises,” Dalmiya said,reacting to reports that Lorgat would not mind apologising if need be to sort out issues with the BCCI. Dalmiya,however,said that the tour to South Africa is on but added that a final decision on the lenght and schedule will be decided later. (pti)

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