Promotionrelegation system hurts SA’S smaller cricket unions – Peterson




African News Agency


SMALLER, poorer unions are jeopardised by the promotion-relegation system that is in place in domestic cricket. This is the view of Warriors coach Robin Peterson. Cricket South Africa called on former International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson to head the committee in charge of building a new domestic structure for South African cricket. That structure was implemented in 2019/2020. Two seasons later, the ramifications of that decision are there for everyone to see. It has now emerged that the Richardson commission did not consult the local coaches about how best to build a new model that will develop and accelerate South Africa’s brightest cricketing talent. “They asked the Richardson commission to do all this. They say they got our views, but it was never discussed. There was no collaborative effort to get to the best solution,” Peterson told IOL Sport in an exclusive interview. If the Eastern Cape-based Warriors were relegated, that would mean no team in the entire Eastern Cape region would play division one cricket. Peterson suggests going back to eight teams will help prevent dilution of the best players with average ones. “Imagine if we get relegated. Then there’s no division one team in the Eastern Cape and that’s where all the black cricketers come from. Why would Cricket South Africa even put that at risk? It’s as if the points I am making were never discussed in that commission. “Why would anyone go watch domestic cricket if it’s so diluted?” asked Peterson. “I’m not happy with promotion-relegation. People can say it gets the house in order, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I think there’s too many professional cricketers in South Africa and we’ve got to get to fewer teams because that would mean batters face better bowling. “You can say, ‘yes, but England are doing it’, but we can’t copy their system. They’ve got more facilities than us. They’ve got government building facilities, so it really isn’t the same thing,” he said. Peterson emphasised that there’s more to lose than there is to gain with the current promotion-relegation system, especially for the poorer unions. Smaller and poorer unions keep producing quality talent while the bigger, richer unions simply buy them and leave the smaller provinces drained and relegated. “The teams with a lot of money will always have an advantage. Take, for instance, someone like Matthew Breetzke (top run-scorer in the 4-Day Series). I work with him until he gets his game figured out and then all of sudden a big team comes and offers him a big pay cheque and then he’s gone. Where does that leave the Warriors? It leads us to relegation.” The current structure has also created a big debate about how the overall points system was set up. Domestic teams get the same number of points for winning a 4-Day game, a 50-over game and a T20 game. This points system then determines which team will be relegated or promoted after a two-season cycle. Peterson disapproves of this approach. “How can there be the same weighting for winning a 4-Day game and a T20 game? Some guy can come in and hit two sixes in one over and win a T20 game, while you have to work hard in a 4-Day game, but you still get the same number of points as the team that won a T20 game. “I think that’s ridiculous. No one put thought into that rule, I feel,” he added.