Proteas tour to West Indies on the cards
By Zaahier Adams
The Proteas’ Men’s team could tour the West Indies in September, pending the players’ Indian Premier League commitments and government approval.
South Africa were originally to play two Tests and five T20Is from July 23 to August 16 in the Caribbean but the visit had to be postponed due to Covid-19.
The West Indies are currently playing England in the third and final Test in a bio-bubble secure environment in Manchester.
However, Cricket West Indies chief Johnny Grave believes the Windies can host the Proteas in a truncated tour between the scheduled end of the Caribbean Premier League on September 10 and start of the Indian Premier League on September 19 in the UAE.
"We very much hope that South Africa will be able to come here in September for either a T20-only tour or a Test-only tour at the very least," Grave told Starcom Radio's Mason and Guests cricket show.
"It will be dependent on the IPL. South Africa have a number of their Test players who have IPL contracts, whereas in this current Test team we don't have any IPL players.
"We won't be able to play Test cricket against South Africa during the IPL, Cricket South Africa have made that very clear to us. They've got a commitment to their players to allow them to go and play in the IPL."
The major stumbling block may, however, not be the players’ participation in the IPL, but rather whether special government arrangements can be made for the current lockdown on international takeoffs to be lifted. South Africa is one of most affected Covid-19 countries in the world, with it currently ranking fifth on the global list of infections.
It will be interesting to note in the coming days whether Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Rilee Rossouw, Anrich Nortje and Colin Ingram will be able to leave South Africa for the CPL start on August 18 in Trinidad and Tobago, although at this stage it seems highly unlikely.
Equally, despite Cricket SA's willingness to grant the “No Objection Certificates” for their players to participate in the IPL, this too remains dependent on the government giving the green light.
“Cricket South Africa will definitely provide players with the NOCs for the Indian Premier League, but logistics are not something in our hands,” said CSA’s media manager Koketso Gaofetoge.
Cricket SA have taken small steps in their bid to get professional cricket going in the country again.
Last week they staged the unique 3TC event at SuperSport Park which was the first cricket of any form played in South Africa since Covid-19 brought a halt to proceedings in March.
A Proteas women's training camp is also scheduled to start on Monday at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, although it suffered a blow when three unidentified people tested positive for Covid-19 requiring them self-isolate for a period of 10 days.