Ali Bacher: 'It will be a wonderful gesture if India tours South Africa in August'

The cricket board is in serious financial trouble, says the former player, captain and administrator, in an interview.

Former team-mates, Graeme Smith (left) and Mark Boucher now hold important positions in South African cricket. Smith is the Board president, while Boucher is the head coach of the national team. - AFP

In many ways Aron “Ali” Bacher — as player, captain and administrator — has been a pillar of strength to South African cricket. A medical doctor who excelled in cricket and leadership, Bacher at a young age of 28 led South Africa to a stunning 4-0 win against the Bill Lawry-led Australian team in early 1970. This series marked the end of South Africa’s presence in international cricket because of the country’s apartheid policy.

It took 21 years for South Africa, called the Rainbow Nation, to return to the international fold, thanks to Bacher’s persuasive skills, knack of winning over people and the men who mattered at the International Cricket Council.

In good relationship with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Bacher was given the leeway to negotiate with the international cricket community. He had kept interest for cricket alive at home during the apartheid years and shaped the careers of local cricketers who became giants, one among them being Allan Donald.

Ali Bacher played 12 Tests for South Africa and was a key man in South Africa's comeback to international cricket, thanks to his persuasive skills, knack of winning over people and the men who mattered at the International Cricket Council. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The Johannesburg-based Bacher will soon turn 78. He has never lost his sight from the goings-on in South African cricket and happenings in world cricket. He is disappointed that the Quinton de Kock-led South African team had to return home from India without a ball bowled, after the team had beaten Australia 3-0 in the home ODI series.

The cricket boards of India and South Africa decided to call of the three match ODI series because of the threat posed by COVID-19. The first match at Dharamshala was washed out on March 12.

Bacher believes that should the COVID-19 health hazard abate, there is a possibility of India playing a Twenty20 series in South Africa in August. That’s what he has heard from local reliable sources. He says Graeme Smith has a good rapport with Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president.

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“It will be a wonderful gesture should India tour South Africa in August. It will be appreciated in South Africa as it would assist SA cricket with its financial problems. I have given you an update on SA cricket which should interest your readers,” revealed Bacher.

In a short interview to Sportstar, Bacher talks about cricket coming to a standstill and the state of South African cricket.

Excerpts

About COVID-19 bringing a halt to all cricket activities: This pandemic is very serious. Other than for two World Wars, the world has never seen a crisis that we are now experiencing with this coronavirus. It is said that this virus flourishes in cold weather. India’s hot weather may save it from disaster.

State of South African cricket: South African cricket today is at the crossroads. Financially, it is in serious trouble. It has a national board that in the words of its former CEO knows nothing about cricket. A Special General Meeting will be convened once the country returns to normality. Nine out of the 14 affiliates will call for the resignation of the current president and vice-president.

The good side is that Jacques Faul is now the acting CEO of [Cricket South Africa]. He is excellent. Graeme Smith is now full time in the administration of SA cricket and Mark Boucher is the national coach. Both are excellent appointments.

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