Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius is just looking forward to playing again. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius is just looking forward to playing again. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

3TC Solidarity Cup now much more than a simple game of cricket

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Jul 16, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Besides the worthy charitable cause for which this weekend’s 3 Team Cricket Solidarity Cup is being played, the event has a great deal riding on it for Cricket South Africa and the players.

The last week has lifted a veil on what was the undercurrent of racism and disunity that has existed in the sport post-isolation. With the Solidarity Cup being the first live sports event to take place in South Africa since the pandemic lockdown, it provides a crucial and unique opportunity for Cricket SA to take a stand and to indicate a new direction for the game in this country.

The players will have a practice match on Thursday to give themselves the opportunity to get to grips with this new format that sees 24 players divided among three teams play a version that seems convoluted, but may in fact be fun.

What won’t be fun is some of the conversations taking place among the players - who in many cases will be seeing each other face to face for the first time in months. Lungi Ngidi, whose very eloquent comments last week inadvertently sparked so much outrage, said he would help lead the discussion he believes his teammates need to have about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Amongst the most critical outcomes from those talks will be seeing the views of Ngidi’s white teammates, who for the most part have remained quiet in the last few days. What they take away from those discussions and their reaction will be crucial to the Proteas’ future as a team.

In the meantime, Cricket South Africa and its broadcast sponsor, SuperSport, who will be showing the match live on Saturday, will also be under scrutiny to match the eloquence, honesty and quality of Sky TV in England last week, in how they present proceedings.

There have been some personnel changes since the 3TC competition was first announced a month ago. Chris Morris, originally drafted to play for Kagis Rabada’s, Kingfishers team, has had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict with the revised date. The match had originally been slated to take place on June 27, but was then postponed when it emerged CSA hadn’t gotten permission from the government to host the event.

Sisanda Magala, was set to play for the AB de Villiers side, the Eagles, but had to withdraw because his father passed away.

Morris’ spot has been taken by the talented young Free Stater Gerald Coetzee, while Magala has been replaced by Bjorn Fortuin.

On Tuesday evening, Cricket SA confirmed that 50 tests for Covid-19 had been carried out among officials, ground staff, players and support staff with six positive tests returned.

None of those who tested positive were players, said CSA.

“We’re very excited to get back onto the field,” said all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius. “After such a long time off it, everyone is just really excited to be back. In a way it is a little bit bitter-sweet because after this we don’t know when we’ll be back again, but for now we’re just looking forward to this opportunity.”


@shockerhess

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