A tour of England to South Africa at the end of the year will be a welcome relief for everyone involved with South African cricket, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Proteas fans are desperate to see their team in action once again and, with the ongoing mess at Cricket South Africa, a shift in focus to field performances will help swing the spotlight away from the chaotic governing body.
Reports last week that England could very well be set to tour South African shores once again for an ODI and T20I series have at long last been some good news for cricket fans in this country after six months of pain in terms of corporate governance at CSA.
One has to go back to 7 March for the last time the Proteas were in action and after they convincingly beat Australia in the ODI series, their momentum was somewhat broken when they had to return from India without playing a match.
The Proteas still have more than enough talent to field competitive teams against strong opposition like England and despite the crisis at CSA, it is important that our teams be presented with the best possible tours of testing themselves against the best in the game.
CSA missed out on large sums of money when the T20 series against India didn’t take place in August and it goes without saying that the organisation is desperate for some welcome revenue a cricket country such as England guarantees.
Should the tour go ahead, then three ODI and three T20I matches will take place in a period between November and December, which will lead to major demand in broadcasting rights as the tour will fall in England’s winter season.
The uncertainty surrounding the future tours programme also makes this an opportunity that simply can’t be overlooked, especially after England manufactured international cricket’s return with a lot of success in recent months.
CSA has also been in constant dialogue with the English Cricket Board in terms of health outlooks and how to create a safe and secure bio-bubble for visiting teams.
Last week the British Evening Standard mentioned Cape Town as the likeliest destination for the six matches, with Boland Park in Paarl also an alternative venue in close proximity.
Other possible cricket grounds that could be used for such a tour are SuperSport Park in Centurion and Senwes Park in Potchefstroom – both have high-performance centres close by, which are an integral part for touring sides in a bio-bubble.
That said, it’s time for CSA to get a move on. Yes, they will for the foreseeable future be stuck in a governance battle with Sascoc as they somehow try to manoeuvre their way out of this mess.
But, it’s time to look to the future now that sport is slowly making a return to South Africa and it is important that our national and domestic teams be given the chance to play the game they love.
If we can’t be consistent off the field then at least give the players the opportunity to be consistent on it. They have suffered enough.