Covid-19: Is a T20 series between SA and India towards the end of August a feasible prospect?

Acting Cricket SA chief executive Jacques Faul says the federation has not been too badly affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak that has put a hold on sporting events worldwide.
Acting Cricket SA chief executive Jacques Faul says the federation has not been too badly affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak that has put a hold on sporting events worldwide.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

A T20 series between South Africa and India towards the end of August has become a feasible prospect‚ but one that’s governed by the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa.

CSA’s acting chief executive officer Dr Jacques Faul said they will wait for guidance from government‚ the sports ministry and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) as the respective boards of the two countries have reached an agreement after a teleconference.

“We’ve been encouraged by their willingness to play in three T20’s in August. If it’s postponed‚ then maybe we’ll play a bit later‚” Faul said.

“We are engaging via Sascoc with the 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.”

South Africa 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.

India’s and South Africa’s cases 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‚ which was supposed 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 CSA from a financial perspective‚ will take place is solely down to the government’s Covid-19 directives. Under the level four restrictions‚ down from the initial level five ones‚ sporting events cannot take place.

This is applicable to all sports as South Africa’s Premier Soccer League and Super Rugby also ground to an indefinite halt in March.

The series also has a significant impact in the continuous warming of relations between the boards as the Board of Control for Cricket in India is the richest in the world and plays a big role in the financial stability of a number of the Test-playing nations.

There was a time when CSA and the BCCI weren’t seeing 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 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 like 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.”


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