CAPE TOWN – “We are ready!” That is the message from Boland Cricket chief executive James Fortuin.
Boland Cricket were the biggest winners on Wednesday when Cricket South Africa announced the six selected venues that will host the six Mzansi Super League (MSL) teams when South African cricket’s new competition gets under way next month.
Following the successful completion of an independent assessment process, the five remaining venues along with Boland Park were: Wanderers Stadium (Johannesburg), SuperSport Park (Centurion), Kingsmead (Durban), St. George’s Park (Port Elizabeth) and Newlands (Cape Town).
The allocation of two teams to the Western Cape meant there was no space for Bloemfontein’s Mangaung Oval or Kimberley’s Diamond Oval, leaving the central part of the country with no MSL action.
Both venues hosted One-Day Internationals involving the Proteas and Zimbabwe recently and received unfavourable pitch reports.
Cricket SA chief executive Thabang Moroe, though, stressed that the elected stadiums were chosen on the “primary goal of luring new and traditional fans, other sports fans and the wider general public to our stadia” and also that the buzz phrase for the independent assessment was the ‘Fan Journey’.
“We are delighted that Cricket SA have shown confidence in our abilities. And we know the fans of Paarl will not disappoint,” Fortuin told Independent Media.
Fortuin also commented that Boland Park was “fully compliant with the Stadia Act”, and this was evident in last week’s third and final ODI played under the new floodlights at the picturesque Winelands venue.
This was crucial in the overall outcome, with Moroe indicating that CSA had embarked on a “national stadium grading process of all our first-class venues” a little while back.
Boland Park is also in the unique position that it is the only hosting venue that currently shares a South African domestic franchise, the Cape Cobras, along with Newlands.
With Moroe indicating in an interview on SABC during the first T20 in East London on Tuesday that the chief executives of the respective unions will appoint the respective team management of their teams, it will be interesting to see who Boland elect.
It is expected that current Cobras coach Ashwell Prince will oversee the Newlands-based franchise, but Fortuin was tight-lipped on the Boland appointment.
“We are still busy sourcing a management team. We are still exploring all options,” he said.
The competition is scheduled to get under way on November 16.