South Africa Plans to get cricket up and running
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has outlined plans to get the game moving again in dealing with the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.
International sport around the world has been at a standstill for nearly two months, with the industry now looking at ways of re-opening again.
In a Tele-press Conference that featured CSA’s Acting Chief Executive, Dr Jacques Faul, Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, as well as South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) CEO, Andrew Breetzke, some of the strategies to help kickstart the sport again in the country were revealed.
Amongst the key announcements was a Support Fund to help those in distress during the current climate as well as ongoing plans for the Proteas to host India in the coming months.
“The board approved a four-pillar strategy on 15 May and that gives effect to a few things,” Faul outlined. “The first one is that we will have a support fund, which we will be rolling out.
“It’s a fund that will provide support to people within the cricket industry and also to the most vulnerable South Africans. We have to use our voice as cricket and also co-ordinate the efforts of some of our players that are already involved in this work.
“Then we will continue to engage with our stakeholders, and I want to thank Andrew for sharing this telecon with us. We are continuing to engage the major role players and that includes SACA. I want to thank them for the amount of work they are doing towards the duty of care towards the players during lockdown and their efforts at the time of this ongoing crisis.”
SACA’s Chief Executive, Breetzke, added: “We’re at a crucial juncture where the future of the game is at stake, so it’s important that SACA works with CSA in the best interests of the game and that goes for all the stakeholders. So, this is what we are doing at the moment.”
Faul also spoke positively about discussion that have been taking place to play against India but added that a lot of that planning revolved around the lockdown and what the government of South Africa would and would not allow. That tour is scheduled for late August.
“We had a telecon with India yesterday (Wednesday) and we are encouraged by their willingness to honour their agreement to play the three T20s in August, and if it’s postponed then maybe a bit later,” the CEO said. “I would also like to thank the ECB for engaging with us to make sure we follow the right protocols should we play in a bio-secure environment.
“We are engaging via SASCOC with the Minister (of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa). We are in the process of seeking an audience with the Minister to get permission if needed to play behind closed doors and this will relate to the possibility of the India tour and other incoming tours.
“We’re trying to be innovative because it is an important tour to us.
“Leading to that, a lot of good work is being done by Dr. Manjra, who heads up our COVID-19 steering committee. We continue to take guidance from him. A lot of work is being done in terms of scenario planning.”
DoC Smith, meanwhile, confirmed that the India tour was not the only one they were working on. “We’re engaging with the West Indies Cricket Board regarding tours that have been postponed and the FTP,” he said. “We’re trying to find opportunities post their (West Indies) tour to England to see how we can fit that series in, whether it is a neutral ground or wherever we are permitted to play. We’ll have to see where we sit towards August and what the restrictions are on international cricket.”