CASSIM SULIMAN: REACTIONARY AND VISIONARY

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat speaks very fondly and highly of something called ‘Baker’s Cricket’ which was a set of bats and balls which sent to the townships back in the 60s and 70s and even the 80s by a biscuit company and which got kids who had no other exposure to the ‘white man’s game’ playing cricket. KFC are doing something like that now and it’s something we find very effective. It costs us nothing but we are asked to help because we’re best placed to know where the kits should be targeted.

Our ACA Development Officers for example will get a couple of schools playing, then more, then a district, all of them in the rural areas, and just keep them going with equipment – that’s the biggest hurdle at the start and then we get to things like helping with grounds and negotiating with the school boards and local governments.



Primary schools play T20, high schools 35-overs, Juniors and club cricket play 35 overs – we want cricket to be accessible and fitting in with the what people are able to do. The challenge is to sustain numbers. And what I insist that all the development officers do is make cricket fun – cricket’s about playing, not about working. If the children of Africa aren’t playing cricket then we may as well close up and go fishing.

We’re rolling along nicely. It is, if I may bring in a couple of concepts from my corporate days – it is about service and delivery. To take cricket to the masses you’ve got to deliver a simple and quality product.

We have big goals. I think they’re achievable. Maybe not in my administrative lifetime but if I don’t lay a path for others to follow then there’s no point in being here. One is to get Kenya Test status. The next is to get Namibia and Uganda ODI status. Before all of that we want to have two turf grounds, no white elephant stadiums, in all our member countries.

We want cricket to contribute to the community. Let a 9-year old learn about teamwork and ethics and codes for life – if we can get a child from a slum or rural area play for their national team and let me tell you, already in the (Associate) Zambia team four of them are from disadvantaged areas of the country and are doing very well. A lot of that is thanks to the support of the copper mining companies who sponsor so much of local cricket.

If we can keep attracting youth to the game – and in most of Africa there’s no fathers or brothers or uncles to bring you in – then we’ve done our job. If kids play cricket because they really choose it above all the other options available then we’ve won.

With ICC Global Development Manager Tim Anderson

The politics will never change, the policies can. That’s my job and if I may so, my strength – to turn the forces that may be against us towards working with us. Sometimes local politics are best for world politics, what my life and my country’s life have taught me is that if you just take without giving then sooner or later someone’s going to take from you.

Governance is something that’s new to a lot of sports, and it’s new to cricket in Africa. We have had two Strategic Governance seminars for all our members already which have taught all of us a lot. There’s nothing written in the Koran or the Bible that the ACA should automatically get money from the ICC so whatever we get comes with responsibilities attached and rightly so. As one of my friends says, ‘If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.’ If we want the players to learn leadership and help build their young countries then the least we can do is offer them good examples of leadership ourselves.

Related:
Africa Cricket Association
ICC Africa Region Overview

Filed November 16th, 2011