“It is going to be business as usual, as far as possible, and you will be part of the cricket action!” That was Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) message to all its stakeholders, including partners in government, sponsors, and media, at its successful 2020/21 season launch at Hammanskraal on Thursday.
The season starts with the first few rounds of the CSA’s 4-day domestic series from the beginning of November. The bulk of the Proteas will be able to take part before the start of the international season with England’s white ball tour of both Betway One-Day International Series presented by Momentum and KFC T20 International matches that runs from late November to early December.
“We sincerely thank our partners in government for their assistance and guidance in making the Series against England possible from 27 November to 9 December 2020. As per South Africa’s high standards and international convention, all Covid-19 protocols will be strictly observed and bio-secure conditions will be met to ensure the safety of all players and staff,” said CSA Acting Chief Executive Kugandrie Govender.
This is the first of four projected incoming tours for the Proteas men’s team in what is going to be one of the most congested and intensive seasons at both international and domestic level.
“It is an unfortunate reality that the new normal requires cricket all our matches to take place behind closed doors for the foreseeable future,” commented Govender.
“The game of cricket and the important role of our men’s and women’s players will always be our core business, but we also understand and appreciate that our fans are one of our key stakeholders. We have therefore come up with innovative ways to make them feel valued and very much part of our cricket season, even if they can’t physically be at the games.”
Through the use of social media, digital platforms, updates through CSA’s esteemed broadcast partners, and, of course, live broadcasts of international matches and some of the franchise games as well, cricket fans can continue to join in the action.
Growing and engaging our fans base is central to growing our business and fulfilling our vision of making cricket accessible to all,” said Govender. “The participation of our Proteas in a substantial amount of franchise cricket at the start of the season adds a ton of value for fan participation. And in a way, it is almost a throwback to the early years of unity when it was a regular occurrence. This will give our stars of tomorrow, who continue to be rolled out through the cricket pathway pipeline, a wonderful opportunity to develop their skills, and to challenge for higher honours alongside some of our acknowledged champions,” concluded Govender.
The season launch further included an overview of the pathway system and its transitional phases by CSA’s Acting Cricket Pathways Manager, Eddie Khoza, who also reminded stakeholders of CSA’s transformation successes, including: