AB De Villiers to decide on Proteas future 'once we get onto the park'
It will also be the first official cricket match in South Africa since the national lockdown was implemented on March 26, causing the 2019/20 season to be ceased.
The match will showcase a brand new format that divides players into three teams of eight players each to contest two halves of 18 overs. Teams will bat for one innings of 12 overs, split between two six-over periods, where they will face one opponent in the first half and the other in the second half amongst a whole list of other experimental rules.
South Africa’s white-ball captain Quinton de Kock will lead the Kites, while fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is the skipper of the Kingfishers. De Villiers will be at the helm of the Eagles with all three teams competing for the Solidarity Cup.
The focus will primarily, though, be on De Villiers. The 36-year-old has been in constant discussions with national team coach Mark Boucher and Cricket SA’s Director of Cricket Graeme Smith over the past few months in regards to a possible Proteas comeback.
De Villiers retired from international cricket in 2018, but was potentially planning to return for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
However, with COVID-19 placing the tournament’s original scheduling for October and November in jeopardy, De Villiers did not want to commit to a timeline just yet.
“I think this format is going to go a long way,” said De Villiers. “Decisions about involvement with CSA over the next 12 months haven’t been decided on yet. That will happen over the next few months once we get back onto the park and once we start playing cricket again.”
There will be no spectators allowed inside SuperSport Park to attend the unique match. Pay channel SuperSport will, however, deliver a live broadcast.
The players will get in three days before and be kept in a sanitised eco-system.
“In the stadium, everyone will wear masks and doors will be kept open along with other safety measures,” CSA’s chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra said.
Cricket South Africa and 3TeamCricket - a privately-owned new company headed by former FirstRand bank chief executive, Paul Harris, who is now involved in a mobile data company RAIN, cricket commentator Mark Nicholas and former Springbok World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar - have also committed to “using their voice” to raise funds for the Hardship Fund.
No player has been compelled to participate in the one-off event, with South Africa’s highest-ever wicket-taker Dale Steyn a notable omission from the team lists.
KG’s Kingfishers: Kagiso Rabada (c), Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Heinrich Klaasen, Glenton Stuurman
Quinny’s Kites: Quinton de Kock (c), David Miller, Temba Bavuma, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, JJ Smuts, Lutho Sipamla
AB’s Eagles: AB de Villiers (c), Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Andile, Phehlukwayo, Rassie van der Dussen, Junior Dala, Kyle Verreynne, Sisanda Magala.