There’s a chance the Proteas could host India in a T20 series in August
Cricket SA acting CEO is seeking permission from the government to play behind closed doors
A Twenty20 series between the Proteas and India at the end of August has become a feasible prospect‚ but one that will be governed by the spread of Covid-19 in SA.
Cricket SA acting CEO Jacques Faul said they will wait for guidance from the government‚ the sports ministry and SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) as the boards of the two countries have reached an agreement after a teleconference.
“We’ve been encouraged by their willingness to play in three T20s in August. If it’s postponed‚ then maybe we’ll play a bit later‚” Faul said.
“We are engaging via Sascoc and with sports minister 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.”
SA embarked on an ODI tour of India in March‚ but that was curtailed because of the spread of the coronavirus after the first game was washed out. Cases of the coronavirus in India and SA were low at the time‚ but both countries embarked on lockdowns that put severe limitations on internal and external travel.
Such was the extent of the lockdown in India that the Indian Premier League (IPL)‚ due to start at the end of March‚ was pushed back to April before being postponed indefinitely. The IPL has been the highest-profile cricket casualty of the coronavirus.
Whether the T20 series‚ a crucial one for Cricket SA from a financial perspective‚ will take place is solely down to the government’s Covid-19 directives. Under level 4 restrictions‚ sporting events cannot take place. This is applicable to all sports as SA’s Premier Soccer League and Super Rugby also ground to a halt in March.
The series has a significant affect in the continuous warming of relations between the boards, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest in the world and plays a big role in the financial stability of a number of Test-playing nations.
There was a time when Cricket SA and the BCCI did not see eye to eye‚ but that seems to be a thing of the past, with director of cricket Graeme Smith rooting for BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly for the International Cricket Council (ICC) presidency.
“Having dealt with Sourav for a long time‚ the presidency of the ICC becomes a key position in terms of how the game can progress at the right level. From our perspective‚ it would be great if a cricket man such as Sourav could get the president role‚” Smith said.
“It could be good for the modern game because he understands it and played at the highest level. He’s respected, and his leadership will be key.”