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Relief for Cricket SA as sports minister Nathi Mthethwa gives the green light to England tour

20 October 2020 - 16:41 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Mark Boucher will be desperate to get his Proteas charges back on the field as soon as possible after more than seven months of inactivitiy.
Mark Boucher will be desperate to get his Proteas charges back on the field as soon as possible after more than seven months of inactivitiy.
Image: © Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

SA will host England next month after sports minister Nathi Mthethwa gave the green light to the short limited overs tour on Tuesday afternoon.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) still needed final approval from Mthethwa after the department of Home Affairs gave the embattled body the go-ahead to host the visitors on Monday.

The tour is expected to ease CSA’s financial burden to the tune of nearly R50m as the organisation missed out on $10m (R165m) when India couldn’t come to South Africa for a whistle-stop limited overs tour due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions in August.

The approval also means that CSA are able to meet the England and Wales Cricket Board's Tuesday deadline to either commit to the tour or withdraw.

The three ODI’s and three T20’s are scheduled for Newlands in Cape Town and Boland Park in Paarl while England are set to arrive in South Africa on November 17.

The visitors will charter flights at their own cost to South Africa and back.

Now that the series will take place‚ South Africa can look forward to their first bit of international cricket since the India ODI series in March that was curtailed by the spread of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

South Africa’s home international season was already complete by the time the virus shut down sport and life across the world‚ but still needed to complete what remained of their domestic season.

The visitors‚ on the other hand‚ were able to fit in a shortened four-day competition‚ their T20 tournament and the hosting of three international teams in the West Indies‚ Pakistan and Australia across various format in what was a summer like no other.

The matches were played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton and Old Trafford in Manchester as both grounds have on-site hotels.

The trip will be England’s second to South Africa in less than a year after they were the 2019/20 summer’s main attraction where they won the Test series 3-1‚ the T20 series 2-1 and drew the ODI series 1-1.

The sports ministry’s decision to grant the request of the tour may be beneficial to the players and the organisation‚ but it comes on the backdrop of Mthethwa issuing CSA with a notice of government intervention on October 14.

The body has a deadline of October 27 to respond.