The Mzansi Super League has officially been postponed until 2021, Cricket South Africa confirmed in a press release on Monday afternoon.
The going ahead of the tournament, which was due to take place at the end of the year, has long been in the balance due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty regarding the domestic season in South Africa.
The event will now be staged from November to December next year, but CSA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender says their will be new T20 franchise competition at the start of 2021, which will give local players the chance to fight for a spot in the Proteas team for next year’s T20 World Cup.
‘As the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in India in October to November 2021, we understand the importance of providing domestic cricketers the opportunity to impress for selection. Therefore, in lieu of the MSL, CSA will stage a single-round domestic franchise T20 competition early next year. This will give players ample time to prepare and stadiums the chance to recover financially by welcoming fans back to support their favourite domestic players, Govender explained.
‘The 2020/21 global cricket calendar will be jam-packed, appreciating the ICC’s efforts to fit as many missed international tours due to Covid-19, into this period. The impact of revised calendars for international cricket across all ICC Members and other T20 leagues, have had a knock-on effect on South African cricket scheduling.
‘The Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainty around international travel, including the state of control of South African borders, as well as border control at the country points of departure of international players, also compelled CSA to make this rational decision. Also, the unavailability of national players due to a revised and saturated season, would have diluted the quality that CSA envisions for MSL,’ added Govender.
CSA is also hoping the participation of some of the world’s best and most-famous cricketers will help boost the broadcasting revenue of the MSL, which, if had gone ahead this year, would almost definitely have not been the case.
‘It is unfortunate but unavoidable that we have had to take this decision but maintaining the high quality of cricket that we have seen in the first two editions of the MSL is a non-negotiable for CSA. The fact that we would have to play in empty grounds was another consideration, not only financially but also for player morale and team spirit, which links to fan support. The atmosphere and encouragement our fans have brought to first two editions have been significant and contributed incredibly to the MSL’s success. We would not want to lose out on that or the opportunity to position the league as an important way to attract new fans to the game,’ Govender concluded.