JOHANNESBURG – Cricket SA has received the go ahead from the government to host the England team for a set of limited overs series’ next month.
The tour was under a cloud in the wake of CSA’s administrative problems which saw the organisation rebuked by Sports Minister, Nathi Mthethwa this week.
However while Mthethwa is angry with the organisation’s administrators he also understands what the financial implications would be for the sport in general in this country, if the tour did not go ahead. In that regard he gave his backing for the trip to happen, although that support will have no bearing on the announcement on Wednesday that he would intervene at CSA, given the administrative mismanagement at the organisation.
Cricket SA stands to make around R70-million because of the tour. That money is absolutely critical for an organisation that is facing a harsh economic outlook given the Covid-19 lockdown and the loss of sponsors.
England will spend 10 days in isolation at a ‘bio-secure environment’ in the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town from November 17 and they will have practice sessions at Newlands. The tour party will number more than 50 individuals including around 40 players for three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals. Cricket SA will cover all costs for accommodation and transport in Cape Town, but the ECB will be playing for a special charter flight to transport the 50-over world champions to SA. On Thursday, the Daily Mail website reported that costs for the return charter flights will run to about R8-million.
Both the England and South African teams will be staying at the Vineyard, with matches set to be held at Newlands and Boland Park, in Paarl. Cricket SA has to update the department of Home Affairs about all England’s arrangements, given that the UK is listed as a high risk country by that department.
While England completed a home season with matches against the West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia in a ‘bio bubble’, the Proteas last saw action in March, winning all three ODIs in a series against Australia. Tours to the West Indies, India and Sri Lanka, have all had to be postponed. South Africa was due to host India in August for three T20 Internationals and Pakistan this month for ODIs and T20s.
The series’ against England will be critical in showing that South Africa can host international matches again, albeit without crowds. Should it occur without too many hassles, the country could play host to Sri Lanka in the summer for a couple of Test matches.
Pakistan’s board has also said the Proteas will tour that country in January although that hasn’t been confirmed yet, while Australia are due for a Test series in February.
The domestic season will start on November 2, with a round of four-day matches.