Cricket to provide the test case for a live match in SA on June 27

19 June 2020 - 10:57 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Graeme Smith during the pre-match press conference at Sahara Park Newlands on February 28, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Graeme Smith during the pre-match press conference at Sahara Park Newlands on February 28, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Now that cricket has finally stepped back into the playing breech in the form of the 3Team Cricket tournament that’ll take place on June 27‚ the game will also form part of a real-time trial run of a match taking place under coronavirus conditions in South Africa.

Domestic cricket ground to a halt in March with the Momentum 1-Day Cup play-offs and the final rounds of the Franchise Four-Day Series remaining.

The relaxation of the lockdown from level four to three has allowed for non-contact sports like cricket to return to training and play while in the United Kingdom‚ the West Indies are already preparing for their Wisden Trophy Test series that’ll take place next month.

Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith said all the safety protocols have been put in place and will be rolled out in preparation for next week Saturday’s fixture.

“We are busy with that‚ but that will be decided by the medical team. They will deal with the bio-zoning at SuperSport Park and we’ll roll that out over the next couple of days in terms of how it’s going to be handled‚” Smith said.

“Medical comes first and that applies to everyone who will be in the stadium. It is a Covid-19 style game‚ so over the coming week‚ it’ll be rolled out to everybody.

“There are permits in place for players to be moving around and domestic travel has opened up for business purposes as well. We’ve been working very closely with the minister of sports and we’ve presented extensive medical plans on the return to training and play.”

The gazetting of the regulations and the submissions of the various protocols from the different federations has been a slight issue‚ but Smith said they have ticked this box already.

“We’ve done extensive work and I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve presented to the ministry through the director general‚” he said.

“We’ve submitted and we’ll be meeting again this afternoon. We’ve seen sport progressing and we’re excited to be part of that. We’ve worked with government and we’re glad to have their support.”

With the West Indies in the UK and set to play the first of three Tests against England on July 8 in Southampton‚ this will have an impact on SA’s planned West Indies tour at the end of July. Smith said the fluid nature of the Future Tour Programme and the uncertainty with regards to Covid-19 has made this very tricky from a scheduling perspective.

“It’s very difficult to confirm anything on the FTP at the moment and everything is very fluid. We are in weekly discussions with member bodies on trying to find a way forward.

“The most pressing fixture for us is the trip to the Caribbean‚ how we get those two tests done and how we fit them in‚” Smith said.

“We had a scheduled series with India in August‚ Pakistan were meant to come‚ then the T20 World Cup.

“We’re in consistent discussions with everybody to see whether those can be moved to other parts of the calendar to make space. It’s hard to give a definitive answer because no one has confirmed anything.”

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