Cricket SA forced to postpone the Mzansi Super League
The Mzansi Super League (MSL) has been postponed‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Monday.
Scheduled to be held in November and December‚ CSA acting chief executive Kugandrie Govender has confirmed that the third edition of the tournament has been moved to next year.
She said the decision to postpone the country’s premier Twenty20 tournament was due to various national and international logistical reasons caused by the effects of Covid-19.
“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‚” she explained.
“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‚” said Govender.
CSA said it feared that its international broadcast revenue or earnings could decrease should the MSL continue without the international and national cricket superstars that local and international fans have come to expect.
Govender said the prospect of playing in front of empty stadiums also played a part in the decision.
“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.
“We look forward to returning to business as usual next season‚” said Govender‚ adding that the MSL will be played in a new format next year.
“We understand the importance of providing domestic cricketers the opportunity to impress for selection‚” said Govender.
“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‚” says Govender.
“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.”