CAPE TOWN – Western Cape Cricket chief executive Nabeal Dien has stressed that Newlands will continue to host domestic franchise and international cricket this coming season despite the city’s stringent water regulations.
Although the much-anticipated T20 Global League – which was due to get under way on November 3 at Newlands – has been postponed until next year, the ground rated the “second best ground in the world” will host domestic T20 Challenge matches, the coveted New Year Test against India starting on January 5, the third ODI and also the third T20 International against India.
Australia will also visit the picturesque ground in March for the third Test against the Proteas.
“Fortunately for Newlands, we could see this coming. The main field has borehole water.
“The nets and the grass banks on the other side, we were using municipal water, but we changed three months ago when we sunk a borehole that is going to service the gardens and the nets,” Dien said.
“Therefore, we will not be using municipal water at Newlands. Going forward, all the other facilities as in the toilets, bathrooms, etc… we are looking at ways to reduce it significantly and in our new development, we’ll be off the grid completely.”
The association has, though, made the bold decision to reduce the number of club fixtures due to the city’s call to reduce water consumption in the face of the region’s worst drought in over a century.
The fixtures have been cut drastically for all leagues bar the Premier League, First Division A two-day league cricket and third division.
The impact of the decision has led to an outcry from club cricketers and supporters in the Western Cape, who took to social media on Thursday to vent their frustrations at the reduced cricket set to take place in the city this season.
Dien, who is also a former club cricket administrator, sympathises with the players, but he is adamant that the sport will find ways of being sustainable while adhering to the demands placed on it by the city.
“We are sitting with a crisis that I believe we have to deal with. So, rather than the city close off all our facilities in December, we are at least in control of cricket to be played until March – albeit in a diluted sense,” Dien told Independent Media on Thursday.
“I believe that we now have to be pro-active as an association to see what we are going to do in order for these things not to deteriorate.
“There are a number of measures that we can take, and I believe it is something that we must do now because, especially in our country and society, we cannot allow our communities not to have any social activities.”