Cricket SA's upheaval worries visitors England

17 November 2020 - 15:13 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Jos Buttler says the English team is 'delighted' the tour in SA is going ahead.
Jos Buttler says the English team is 'delighted' the tour in SA is going ahead.
Image: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

England’s explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler says they are concerned whether their limited-overs tour to SA is going to take place in light of Cricket SA’s (CSA) administrative upheavals.

England are set to arrive in the country on Tuesday‚ but it is on the backdrop of the CSA members council rejecting the interim board appointed by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa last week.

It was an action that spurred threats of government intervention by Mthethwa‚ and CSA were forced into appointing the interim board on Monday.

“We’ve heard what has happened with the board in SA recently and we thought that was going to be sorted in time for the tour. We were waiting to hear if the tour was going ahead, and reading in the papers that the tour was in doubt. We were wondering‚” Buttler said.

“Ashley Giles got in touch with the players and said he was confident the tour was going ahead and will keep everyone in the loop. I think everyone is grateful and delighted the tour is going ahead.”

In a seeming thawing of relations‚ CSA interim board chairperson and retired judge Zak Yacoob confirmed he temporary leadership will report to the members council‚ but will not be dictated to.

The 72-year-old retired Constitutional Court judge told TimesLIVE on Tuesday they will work with the members council‚ made up of the 14 CSA provincial affiliates’ presidents and the organisation’s highest decision-making body.

Buttler‚ who played throughout the English summer Covid-19 bubble where the England and Wales Cricket Board successfully hosted Australia‚ West Indies and Pakistan‚ said they have become accustomed to playing in tough Covid-19 restrictions.

He said, however, the impact of playing in the bubble and being away from family can’t be discounted.

“We’ve got quite used to the restrictions. We’ve got used to it in England and few of us have taken part in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It’s going to be much of the same and while SA is a great tour‚ we won’t get to fully enjoy it as we usually would‚ but everyone has become accustomed to what things are like‚” Buttler said.

“In the summer‚ you spend a lot time away from your family and they’re not even that far. It was fantastic to be able to take my wife and daughter to the IPL. It made a big difference when they were there with me."

Despite CSA’s administrative issues‚ SA still has a formidable squad, five of whom took part in the recently completed IPL.

Quinton de Kock‚ SA’s limited overs captain‚ played a critical role in the Mumbai Indians winning their fifth title, while Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were teammates at the Delhi Capitals‚ who were the losing finalists.

Buttler‚ who fired intermittently for the star-studded but spluttering Rajasthan Royals‚ said the IPL has helped to give them a closer view of their SA counterparts.

“The guys you mentioned have been around for a while and we’ve played against them in different tournaments and series. The thing about the IPL is that you get to play against these guys close up, and in international cricket there aren’t too many surprises‚” Buttler said.

“It’s great when you’ve had contests against the guys. It impresses on the guys certain things they do and how you’re going to counter them.”