State of the game our priority, says Cricket SA amidst restructure
Workers' Day next year will mark the return of SA's traditional first-class cricket structure after a 16-year hiatus.
But Cricket SA's head of cricket pathways, Corrie van Zyl, said it won't come at the expense of the strength of the franchise system.
The six-team system was set up under Gerald Majola's administration in the 2003/04 season to mirror Australia's six-team Sheffield Shield first-class competition, then seen to be the strongest domestic red-ball system in world cricket.
"We can't move from our vision of having a representative and winning Proteas team. That's what our pipeline is all about. That's what we'll continue to do, but we'll just restructure and in doing so, still make sure that we keep our cricket imperatives as our priority," Van Zyl said.
"We've worked with the SA Cricketers' Association (Saca) when we talked about these imperatives. The exercise of a restructure must be anchored against something and that's the cricketing imperatives of CSA.
"We've engaged with them on a restructure and they've agreed in principle. We need to work out the finer details around what the restructuring actually entails."
Van Zyl said he's been in contact with the players' union and said that they didn't indicate any disagreement with the mooted changes.
"In principle they supported and understood where we are going, but they did say they need to understand a lot more. Other interactions on other forums that included Saca did discuss restructuring but no objections.
"The fact that we worked on the cricketing imperatives to me is an indication that we've consulted and we're working together to find a sustainable restructuring exercise."
Saca president Omphile Ramela said in a statement that they haven't agreed to anything with regards to the restructuring.
"Saca has yet to agree to any restructure. Any agreement by us would need to be a decision of the full players' executive of Saca and we will only take that decision when we know exactly how this will affect the players, including in regard to contract numbers," Ramela said.
"Going to 12 teams may well have some plusses and may give some players more opportunity to play at a higher level, but there is also no doubt that many other players will lose their jobs as professional cricketers.
" It is also very likely that if this is part of a cost-saving exercise, players are going to end up earning less. If CSA says that is not the case then we want to understand how that is actually going to be possible."