Johannesburg, AFP: Cricket in South Africa is set to resume following the coronavirus lockdown on June 27 with a made-for-television event featuring three teams made up of the country’s leading players.
Acting Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Jacques Faul told The Citizen newspaper that government approval had been sought for an event to be played without spectators at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Faul said an experimental format would be used. It will be an opportunity for players to get together after being in lockdown since March and to provide match practice ahead of possible series against the West Indies and India in late July and August.
The players would assemble three days earlier in what CSA’s medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, described as a “sanitised eco-system”, with all players being tested for COVID-19 when they arrived and again five days after the event.
“We’re looking at the minimum number of people being there for the event to happen and be broadcast, which is about 200,” said Manjra.
“We will limit the number of team staff, otherwise it will just be the broadcast personnel, officials, players and stadium staff. There will also be thorough cleaning of the stadium beforehand.” Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on May 30 that professional sports could resume training, subject to government approval but a court ruling that lockdown regulations are unconstitutional complicated sport’s return, with new regulations needing to be gazetted.
Faul said he was confident that the legal issues could be overcome.
“Hopefully we’ll be playing again at the end of June and we’ll start with the Proteas players, for obvious reasons,” he said.