JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa is continuing to forge ahead with establishing its T20 tournament for the upcoming season, even as all around it the support structures for the event seem to be falling to pieces.
Cricket SA were still considering bids from at least 10 of its provincial affiliates on Wednesday, hoping to finalise the process that will see which venues will host the six franchises for the new competition that is due to start in the second week of November.
That is happening despite their equity partner for that new competition, SuperSport, withdrawing from the arrangement on Tuesday night, leaving Cricket SA as the sole shareholder for the new event.
Cricket SA are understood to believe they can make up any shortfall from SuperSport disassociating itself from the tournament through the broadcast deal which they still hope to sign with the satellite TV company. Independent Media understands that a number of provincial CEOs are desperate for the tournament to go ahead, fearing further reputational damage to CSA if it doesn’t.
The federation has remained largely quiet about the new competition in recent weeks despite numerous early utterances from its new CEO, Thabang Moroe, about details being announced soon regarding the tournament’s structure, the involvement of international players and sponsors.
The only official word from a CSA spokesman on Wednesday afternoon was that any public utterances about the tournament will have an impact on more than just the federation and that more time be granted to CSA before it can update the public, the players and coaches about its plans. As yet there is still no official date for when the 2018/19 domestic season is supposed to start.
Dale Steyn injury update: Scans have revealed a Grade 1 strain to the right groin. The estimated recovery time is 10-14 days. He is aiming to return to action for Hampshire in their match against Worcester on 4 September. pic.twitter.com/1LjPuTFoTL
Meanwhile the spectre of a possible trip to the courts still lingers over the federation which has found itself in a protracted battle with owners of franchises which were lined up to participate in the T20 Global League tournament last year. That event was cancelled when CSA failed to sign a broadcast deal or a headline sponsor. It has already cost CSA over R200-million, but the previous owners have maintained that they haven’t been properly compensated for their investment and that they are due a stake in any new competition CSA might establish.
Cricket SA has also written to Sports Minister, Tokozile Xasa, requesting a new date for its mandatory appearance before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on sports and recreation. That was supposed to take place this week, but CSA have said they would be able to better inform the committee about the goings on in the local game after its Annual General Meeting which is scheduled for September 11.
There was some good news for South African cricket out of England on Wednesday with scans on Dale Steyn’s groin revealing just a Grade one strain, which will keep the veteran fast bowler on the sidelines for up to two weeks. He will miss one match for his English County Hampshire and hopes to return for their match against Worcestershire on September 4.