Interview with Dr Ali Bacher

Dr Ali Bacher Dr Ali Bacher played twelve Tests for South Africa as a batsman, and was captain in their triumph over Australia in 1970. Now, as Managing Director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, he has been the dynamic administrative force behind the Proteas return to world cricket. He was interviewed on the irc channel #crickettalk during the second day of the South Africa v India Test at the Wanderers, Johannesburg on 17 January 1997. The interview was moderated by Alex Balfour (colquhoun on irc) with Ros Brodie assisting Dr Bacher.

colquhoun: Hi everyone: Dr Bacher is here

koshy: is dropping DeVilliers a part of SA plan on investing on youngsters ? why stay with Donald then ?

Dr Bacher: Allan Donald, at 30 is at the peak of his form... I believe that today he is the best fast bowler in world cricket. Fanie De Villiers by his own admissions, through injuries during the past 12 months... doesn't bowl with the type of pace that we're accustomed to seeing him bowl.... and he may very well by his own admission be close to the end of his career as a Test bowler.

short-leg: Dr Bacher what do u think of the test cricket championship idea?

Dr Bacher: excellent idea... There is an urgent need for world cricket to come up with a formula for a competition that could determine which country is the no. 1 country in Test cricket

msv: Is the issue about Ahmedabad pitch taken up with Indian Board as speculated?

Dr Bacher: Not at all.... The ICC match referee John Reid in his report to the ICC indicated the shortcomings of that particular pitch.... The ball is now in the ICC court for them to convey John Reid's views to the Indian Cricket Board

Cric8Wala: If Jagmohan Dalmiya persists with his radical idea of a new form of test cricket, will the RSA board still oppose him with Krish Mackerdhuj at the ICC meeting this year ?

Dr Bacher: The UCBSA has not taken a position at this point in time whom they would support for the position of ICC Chairman at the annual conference in London during June of this year.

short-leg: Do u think SA needs to improve on spinning wickets before they can claim best test side status ?

Dr Bacher: I think the issue here is what type of pitch should be prepared for Test matches, whether they're in SA or India or Australia... I have strong views that a good pitch is very necessary for the promotion of Test match cricket... The ball should come on to the bat... There should be even bounce... It should be fair to both batsman and bowler, and should give some turn during the latter part of the Test match.

cheenu: congrats for building a great team after you came back to international cricket

Champ: Any comments on the Kingsmead pitch. Nobody likes to see a match end in 3 days. SA also failed to bat well. It wasn't just the indians.

Dr Bacher: Champ: point taken.... The pitch did, and I concur, swing the balance too much in favour of the fast bowlers.

Rohan: A less controversial one this time... we've seen some really high quality test cricket in recent months, and there will be more of the same when Australia visit you in South Africa. And yet arguably the two best teams in the world will face off over 3 Tests, but SEVEN one day internationals? Isn't this a bit too much (ODI's)? Or do financial considerations make this neccessary?

Dr Bacher: It is necessary for financial reasons to have those seven ODI's... If small centres like East London and Bloemfontein are not provided with a minimum of one ODI per summer, they would be in serious financial difficulty

S_King: What is Dr B's aim for world cricket? Does he see it becoming a truly global sport?

Dr Bacher: Cricket has problems in 1996.... Although the numbers playing and supporting cricket are big by virtue of the participation of the countries from the subcontinent, in real terms when we talk about no. of countries actively playing cricket at a high level... The numbers are very small beyond 7 or 8 of the Test-playing countries. The rest of the countries within the associated members and affiliates, cricket in those countries is a very low profile sport. Minimum media, govt, sponsorship support, not being played in the schools, and the active number of participants is very small... for eg: Holland, which is considered one of the best Associate member countires, and where cricket has been played for over 100 years, you have only 5000 active cricketers. Soccer in the very same country has 1.5 million registered players. The International Development Committee of which I am a member is working on a strategy to advance the game in countries where cricket is not played at all, eg, China

S_King: DrB: Many thanks for your answer, and I'd like to take this opportunity to offer CricInfo's unreserved support and assistance with this agenda

Pranav: There has been much made about inadequacy of net bowlers which have been provided to Indians for practice in nets. How true is this?

Dr Bacher: I am only aware of one occasion where for certain valid reasons, it was not possible to provide the Indians with an adequate number of net bowlers.

Deon: Hello From Durban : Question : Would you take up the post of ICC-Chairman if offered ?

Dr Bacher: No, not at the moment. I want to remain in South African cricket until our national team, on merit, has representation from all the different population groups within SA. And secondly, I want to be in South African cricket when SA stages the World Cup in 2003, to assist in South Africa organising an outstanding cricketing event, not only SA, but for the world of cricket!

Cric8wala (from chicago, USA - where is it -50 below :-) :
Do you think former cricketers make the best selectors (and administrators) ? Should the current players have a greater say in, say, scheduling ? (comments on the newly proposed Players Association)?

Dr Bacher: Well, an excellent board should have a balance of former Test cricketers who can provide the necessary cricketing expertise, but you also need financial men, lawyers, marketing people to ensure that overall there is good and sound cricketing administration. In terms of selectors, you don't necessarily have to have played at Test level to be a good selector, but it is a big help.

Telcontar (from Qatar): Dr Bacher, what do you feel about using TV replays to back up all umpiring decisions and not just run outs?

Dr Bacher: At this point in time it won't work. Today with the third umpire, with close line calls, can make a decision with absolute assurance whether the batsman, for eg, is run out or not. You could go to court on this issue, but with caught behinds and lbws, sometimes even with slow mo replays, it is not possible to say in fact whether the ball would have hit the wicket, or if the ball did hit the cricket bat.

Dr Bacher: Last question

CoolPom: Is it realistic to expect to see an SA cricket side reflecting the racial mix in South Africa anytime soon?

Dr Bacher: It's the biggest certainty of my life that it will happen. The question is when... We are in a hurry in SA cricket to achieve that objective.

colquhoun: Thank you Dr. B

colquhoun: Thanks everyone who joined in.

letters to the editor: email

About CI Interactive | Email to | StampIt Footer -->
Date-stamped : 28 Feb1999 - 11:25